Last Friday, Ninfield CE Primary School was delighted to receive good news from East Sussex County Council that the project to build two new classrooms will be reinstated.
In February, the school community at Ninfield was disappointed to hear from East Sussex County Council that the building project for classrooms and other school improvements would be cancelled. For a number of reasons, the project was no longer expected to offer good value for money under the Council’s new capital programme criteria.
Upon hearing this news, the local MP, district and county councillors, school governors and Ninfield Parish Council all worked together with the County Council officers and the Council’s political leaders to see what could be done to save the project. They all recognised the need for Ninfield School to have the classrooms it needed to accommodate their current pupil numbers in a modern working environment. Two of the school’s classrooms are currently housed in temporary portacabins and there is no space to provide individual support for children with special needs.
Parents and residents demonstrated huge support for their village school by writing to the County Council and their elected representatives to ask for the project to be reinstated. Local families were also concerned that without the extra classrooms the school would have to reduce its admission numbers from 2019/20.
All parties worked extremely hard over a number of weeks to reach a solution that would enable to project to go ahead.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Cllr Keith Glazier, Leader of East Sussex County Council said “Following responses from elected members, parents, school staff and the governing body on the County Council’s consultation to reduce the school’s Published Admission Number (PAN) from 2019/20, the Council has listened carefully to the concerns raised. The Council reviewed the plans again and concluded that as the project was originally agreed under the previous capital programme it should be completed, and will prioritise funding for this project over other demands.”
Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, who called the first meeting of all parties in February when informed by parents about the cancellation of the project, said “The continuation of this project is tremendous news for pupils, parents and staff at this wonderful village school. At a time when finances are squeezed, I want to thank East Sussex County Council for this investment. Their leader, Cllr Keith Glazier, deserves great praise, as do all the Councillors from Ninfield Parish Council. It just goes to show what can be done when everyone rallies together for the good of their community."
Ian Moffat, Chair of Governors at Ninfield CE Primary School said “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has worked together to make this project happen. The two new classrooms and the internal modifications will provide Ninfield with a modern teaching environment that we can all be proud of and shows the commitment of everyone to maintain the high standard of education available in our village. The addition of a MUGA (Multi User Games Area) by the side of the school will extend our sporting capabilities and will also provide a valuable resource for the village.”
Kaye Crittell, Chair of Ninfield Parish Council said “The parish council is very pleased with the decision taken by ESCC to reinstate funding for this project This is a great example of all interested parties working together for the best possible outcome for our school and local community.”