Washington school to be rebuilt after being listed among UK’s most run-down

Usworth Grange Primary School, Washington.
Usworth Grange Primary School, Washington.
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PLANS to replace a run-down school have been given top priority by the Government.

Usworth Grange Primary in Washington is to be rebuilt after it was rated as one of England’s 15 most dilapidated schools, and plans for its replacement will go before council chiefs this week.

There had been fears it would miss out on cash after the last Labour government’s Building Schools for the Future scheme was axed by Education Secretary Michael Gove after the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition came into power.

But education bosses now say they hope pupils will be able to move into a new building, able to take 210 children and also be home to a 13-place nursery, by spring as part of a £64million regional project.

The plans for the school will be considered by Sunderland City Council’s development control sub-committee for Washington tomorrow, with deputy chief executive Janet Johnson to report to the meeting.

The designs set out how the two main blocks of the existing school would be replaced with a T-shaped building bringing its junior and infant classrooms under one roof, along with a hall, kitchen and plant areas.

The entrance will stay as it is, as will parking and turning areas, but the turning circle would be enlarged to accommodate larger delivery vehicles.

The field would remain in the same place, with a new space to be added to the south side of the site and a hard surface laid down to create a games area.

An undercover cycle area will be installed and trees planted, with shrubs and grass also put in place to set up a screen between the school and homes.

Usworth Grange Primary was built in the 1960s as a short-term measure to educate those born during a baby boom in the town and was not intended to have a lifespan of more than 25 years.

Building firm Sir Robert McAlpine has been given a £64million contract to rebuild the primary and eight other schools in the North East, including Durham Trinity School and Sports College at Aykley Heads in Durham.

The firm has been working with the Education Funding Agency on the designs.

The committee will discuss the proposals tomorrow at 5.45pm in committee room two at Sunderland Civic Centre.