£500,000 to replace Sidmouth College classrooms

Sidmouth College principal Kenny Duncan

Sidmouth College principal Kenny Duncan - Credit: Archant

‘Beyond repair’ classrooms at Sidmouth College are set to be replaced after more than half a million pounds of improvements were budgeted by county councillors.

The four aged portable blocks have been in use since the 1970s to meet demand for space, but now they are the least favoured option on the campus.

Investment from Devon County Council (DCC) will total more than £900,000 in a year, as extensive roof works are currently under way at the school.

Alison Pollentine, the school’s business manager, said: “We will be able to teach children in modern, water-tight, well equipped classrooms rather than these huts, which are a constant problem.”

She explained that DCC had assessed the classrooms as beyond repair and they should be replaced as part of a county-wide maintenance backlog.

Stuart Hughes, the Sidmouth town council chairman and a Devon county councillor, said replacing the classrooms would help bring the school up to date and improve student morale.

“The classrooms are past their sell-by date,” he said.

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“There’s no point spending good money trying to fix them.”

Cllr Hughes, who is also a governor at the school, added: “Young people perform better in buildings than in portable classrooms – their surroundings play a very important part in their learning.

“I’m really delighted the money is there – it’s another step to bring the college into the 21st century.

“It’s a forward looking school, they’ve been really lucky to have had some outstanding headteachers.”

Chris Cooper, DCC school project officer, said the £573,000 of funding is not yet secure, so the designs may still change, but the blocks will probably be replaced with a single building.

The project will go ahead if DCC gets the full £141.5million it wants from the Education Funding Agency, which is part of the Department for Education.

Mrs Pollentine said she hopes to get confirmation by the end of the month.

The investment follows a £328,000 scheme to fix the roofs on the three-storey block, the hall and the changing rooms that is scheduled to finish by Easter.