School cash hopes

A SCHOOL in desperate need of redevelopment could be about to have its prayers answered after the government announced a £2billion funding package.

Mildenhall College of Technology (MCT) has been seeking funds to create facilities to match its strong results for the last six months.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, announced on Tuesday that £2billion would be made available to repair or rebuild dilapidated schools.

With Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for children, schools and young people’s services, confirming that MCT is in the top five schools in the county most in need of repairs, hopes are high that cash could be on the way.

Susan Byles, headteacher, said: “MCT should get a school that it can be proud of and reflects the hard work done by the pupils and staff.

“I refuse to let this school become the poor relation and see money spent on other schools and not ours.”

The news could rekindle plans for the current Riverside Middle School site on Sheldrick Way to be turned into a secondary school.

MCT is planned to take on Year 7 and 8 students from Riverside Middle as part of the Schools Organisational Review (SOR) next year, with the two sites being retained.

Mrs Byles said: “Operating a split site is not ideal for anyone. If we can get one site built at Sheldrick Way by 2014, that would be fantastic.”

Mrs Byles said the school had been informed that to rebuild MCT could cost upwards of £30million, whereas a new site at Sheldrick Way would come in at £20million.

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, raised MCT’s run-down state with Mr Gove in Parliament.

He said: “Today was an important step forward in the campaign to have a senior school in Mildenhall that we can be proud of. MCT’s current building has already been up for twice as long as it was built for, and the roof is almost permanently leaking.

“I will be doing everything I can to ensure that MCT gets the attention it deserves.”