Swindon Schools Undergo Much-Needed Repair Work

Schools in Swindon are set to benefit from repair work, thanks to funding from the government.

Swindon Advertiser has reported that 1,243 schools around England will be given some cash from the £434 million Condition Improvement Fund, aimed at improving building structures and health and safety.

The Condition Improvement Fund allows academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools to submit an application for capital funding to renovate buildings so they are safe.

As a result, nine schools in the Swindon area will now be able to replace boilers, remove asbestos, improve fire safety, and fix leaky roofs.

This includes Lawn Manor Academy, which intends to fit a new automated fire safety system as a result of the much-needed investment.

Headmistress of the education establishment Sandra Muir told the news provider: “Our current fire safety system always passes the annual fire risk assessment carried out by Swindon Borough Council, but the school was built in 1965 and standards have been updated, so this funding will enable us to bring the system right up to date.”

She added that the new fire safety system will be electronic, which will detect fires and raise alarms automatically.

“We will be installing new fire doors and frames with strips that, when exposed to heat, expand and close any gaps around the door to stop the fire spreading for a period of time,” Ms Muir also stated.

Lawn Manor Academy has also received other funding over the last few years to improve the building structure, including £500,000 in 2019 to replace roofs of two buildings.

In 2018, it was given a similar amount to reinstall windows in West Manor, as well as funding in 2017 to replace windows in East Manor. It was also the beneficiary of £0.5 million last year to fit a new boiler system in the school to boost its energy efficiency.

Other schools in the area that will benefit from the government funding include the Commonweal School, which plans to refurbish its toilets; Colebrook Infant Academy, which intends to repair fire breaks; Southfield Junior School in Highworth, which will use the money for a weather-tightness project; and Highworth Warneford School, which will be able to commence phase two of its essential heating system replacement in the DT block.

The school was able to start phase one for the main block and science department in 2019 after it received a similar amount of funding, and hopes this work will be complete by September.

Speaking with the publication, business manager Lorraine Haywood noted the old boiler and pipework was “very antiquated”, as they could have been the original fixtures when the school was built in 1959.

Therefore, it all “needs to be ripped out and replaced”, with Ms Haywood adding: “This will make a huge difference and be fantastic for the school.”

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, added that the focus post-lockdown should be getting children back into school, as “education has always been a top priority for me”.

He stated: “Replacing and upgrading poor condition school and college buildings with modern, energy-efficiency designs will give our students and teachers the environment they deserve, and support them to maximise their potential.”

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