FOLLOWING years of campaigning, politicians and the school’s headteacher are reacting with delight to the news that funding to rebuild Alnwick’s high school has been found.
Duchess’s Community High School is one of the 261 schools with buildings in poor condition which are to be rebuilt under the Government’s Priority School Building Programme.
North Northumberland MP Sir Alan Beith said: “This is great news and I have been keeping up the pressure on the Secretary of State for funding for Alnwick.
“I pay tribute to the way staff and students at the Duchess’s school have continued to work so hard and achieve such good results on a split site in buildings which are now hopelessly unfit for purpose.
“Building the new school will be a boost to the area’s economy and once completed it will be a fantastic asset for Alnwick and the surrounding area.
“Getting the funding for new school buildings has been made possible by the Coalition Government’s decision to cut Labour’s disastrous Building Schools for the Future plan, which ignored rural Northumberland’s needs, and bring in a new scheme which helps schools in desperate need which have maintained good academic standards in spite of appalling buildings.”
Maurice Hall, executive headteacher of the Duchess’s Community High School, said: “So many people have been working hard to make our case to the Government and to make sure we had the best chance of getting onto the Priority Build scheme and I am very pleased that central government is putting funds in place to get the buildings we’ve all been waiting for.
“I’d particularly like to thank Sir Alan for his relentless work on behalf of our school.
“There is still a lot of detail to go through, and I will be working closely with those involved to find out exactly what we need to do next, to think in detail about what our new school could look like, and to ensure our new buildings meet our needs.”
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun Jeff Reid, said: “The Duchess’s school has the worst buildings in the county and I am absolutely delighted that the Government is making rebuilding the school a priority.
“I’ll be working very closely with colleagues and officers to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in moving forward with Alnwick’s new school buildings.
“I’m also pleased that both the other bids submitted by the county council, for Bedlingtonshire High and Prudhoe High Schools, have been included in the scheme.”