Government grant to secondary schools

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Local secondary schools will get a £5.6 million boost to facilities and the range of courses they can provide, after the council secured a £4.5 million government grant.

The money, which is being matched by £1.1 million from the council's own capital fund, will enable four local secondary schools to build new blocks or upgrade existing classrooms to provide vocational and specialist courses ranging from computing and sports science to electronics, engineering and languages.

The facilities and courses would also be made available to neighbouring schools and local residents. Preliminary plans, which are being developed by schools with the council,
* Building workshops for construction, motor vehicle, electronics and engineering courses at Henry Compton School, in Fulham, which already has a £1 million technology block. Headteacher Dinesh Ramjee said the new workshops would give the school more space to expand the range of courses on offer to students. These are likely to include vocational GCSEs, BTEC and City & Guilds courses. "This project will give students a great chance to succeed in vocational subjects which will lead them on to further education courses at college," said Mr Ramjee, whose school has just been given science specialist college status by the government.
* Upgrading information and communications technology facilities at Phoenix High School, in White City, so the school's current ICT provision could be brought together and improved. The school, which is a specialist science college, could also run sports science courses. Headteacher William Atkinson said: "We have bits of ICT dotted around the school and would like to consolidate all of that. We could also run sports science courses. We are already a specialist science college and would like to develop a second specialism in ICT."
* A new building for language teaching at Fulham Cross School, which is a specialist language college. The new languages centre would enable the school to expand its range of modern foreign languages as well as introduce vocational translation courses and community languages. Headteacher Carol Jones said: "Many of our parents are bilingual and would like a school where their daughters could learn the language of their home country. We already offer language teaching to local primary schools and would be able to expand this role to local secondary schools which could send students for courses which they don't offer."
* New facilities for a range of vocational courses are also due to be developed at Hurlingham & Chelsea School. The school has already received a £600,000 capital grant from the council, which has enabled the creation of a new dance studio and lecture theatre, the installation of computer equipment and general improvements to the school environment. The development of a fully-equipped library and learning resource base, with state-of-the-art computer facilities and provision for supporting pupils with special educational needs, is also under way.

Cllr Melanie Smallman, cabinet member for education, said: "This £5.6 million investment in our local secondary schools will transform the range of facilities and opportunities for local students, as well as benefiting neighbouring schools and residents. We are working closely with these four schools to develop their exciting plans which will help more young people to succeed in a wider range of subjects and encourage them to stay on in further and higher education."

February 5, 2006