This story was published 20 September 2017

North Yorkshire’s school year has got off to a sparkling start after an extensive £4m programme of school maintenance and improvement works during the summer across the county.

school building under construction

During the summer holiday period North Yorkshire County Council contractors undertook roof, window and boiler replacements across 49 school sites to keep them safe, warm and weathertight, as well as completing major works such as school extensions, new classrooms and kitchens. The works will improve existing provision as well as creating additional school places to meet present and future need.

The county council has committed an additional £1m for further significant works during the remainder of the school year.

Overall this year the county council will have allocated nearly £12m to improving school sites, not only to maintain the fabric of school buildings but also to invest in upgrading facilities such as science labs, design technology, art, music and drama spaces to support teaching and learning as well as improving school kitchens and other areas. The cash is also being invested in building and site improvements to support school mergers and make split-site campuses work better.

“North Yorkshire is responsible for some 350 schools, many of them small and many with aging or historic buildings,” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools.

“The funding we have provided from government allocations cannot address all of our school maintenance and modernisation needs, as these are considerable, but the works will make a significant difference. We want all our children and young people to enjoy the highest standards in teaching and learning and these works will help our schools continue to be fit for purpose to deliver a 21st century school curriculum.”

The county council plans two major secondary school modernisation projects – one at Graham School, Scarborough, to bring a split-site school onto one site with a new teaching block and one at King James, Knaresborough, to create a new sixth form building.

The music studio at Risedale Sports and Community College in Richmondshire has been refurbished this summer to include a recording studio.

Demand for additional school places is also being provided for through a number of projects, including expansion at Athelstan Community Primary School in Sherburn-in-Elmet, which has new classrooms in a two-storey extension as well as a new, larger kitchen.

Norton Community Primary School in Ryedale has new, dedicated years 5 and 6 classrooms in new premises in a £4m expansion of the school, which includes a financial contribution from housing developers.

Work has also started at Thorpe Willoughby Community Primary School, near Selby, Le Cateau and Colburn primary schools in Catterick and Cowling primary in Craven, to improve existing teaching spaces and create new classrooms. Glusburn Community Primary School, Skipton, has two additional classrooms following works completed over the summer.