Sunderland school gets £400k cash boost

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A CRUMBLING school has been promised an extra £400,000 boost to its regeneration plans.

Hetton School has been promised the cash for a speech and language unit by the Department for Education.

It follows a meeting between Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson and Schools Minister David Laws.

She raised concerns about delays in the Government’s Priority Schools Rebuilding Programme, where Hetton and other schools across the city had planned work delayed.

Problems with the North Road school building have included drainpipes falling off, three areas closed due to the movement of asbestos ceiling tiles and heating failures in four areas.

Hetton School had been told it was entitled to a share of a multimillion-pound cash pot under the Government’s flagship Priority School Building programme.

But delays, revealed earlier this year, meant its rebuild will not happen until 2015/2016 at the earliest.

Other schools affected by the delays are Hylton Castle Primary School, Shiney Row Primary School and St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy. The Priority School Building programme, which named the four Sunderland schools as among those in greatest need of updating, replaced the Building Schools for Futures project which was scrapped in 2010.

Ms Phillipson said The Department for Education has confirmed it anticipates rebuilding work at Hetton School will start at the end of 2014, for it to open in time for September 2016.

She said: “It has also now promised that Hetton School will be receiving an extra £400,000 for a specialist speech and language unit as part of the new building.

“However, if the government encounters further problems securing funding for the scheme, the start date could be pushed back another year.

“This would be unacceptable and I will be keeping up the pressure on the government to stick to their timetable.”