Portsmouth MP takes school’s plea over building to the government

PLEA Penny Mordaunt MP
PLEA Penny Mordaunt MP
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

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PENNY Mordaunt has taken a school’s plea for cash to fix up its buildings to the top by meeting education secretary Michael Gove.

King Richard School in Paulsgrove has forked out huge sums of money in recent years to repair its estate.

A total of £9m in funds has been allocated to the school through government’s Priority School Building Programme.

Now the MP for Portsmouth North has taken the school’s plea to the government in a bid to get the cash released as soon as possible.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘It was a productive meeting.

‘The previous week I had a meeting at the school with a number of organisations which are keen to invest money in the area for community sports facilities. I’m looking to put some pressure on the Department for Education to escalate the planning of the rebuild of King Richard School.

‘We have got money to do that but what I want as well as the school being refurbished is to get as much additional funding as we can for community facilities.

‘If you look at St Luke’s School in Portsmouth they have got great facilities for the school but also they are sustainable because they got parents and the whole community involved.’

The scale of problems that have struck King Richard school over the last few years has been staggering.

Drains collapsed and flooded the science and maths blocks, as well as the English corridor.

Then the roof over the science block collapsed.

Pipes had to be changed because they were leaving the drinking water stagnant, creating a risk of Legionella germs.

And the central heating system was removed as it wasn’t venting properly – meaning that if the wind blew in a certain direction, carbon monoxide fumes would drift into the school.

The school lost a lifeline after the last-minute axing of the Building Schools for the Future scheme, which saw schools across the area lose out on millions of pounds in funding for buildings.

Ms Mordaunt said a number of other organisations have expressed an interest in helping the school develop new facilities for sports use, including Sport England and the Lawn Tennis Association.

King Richard School headteacher Gareth Hughes, was unavailable for comment.