College shares £2bn boost

Sidmouth College principal Kenny Duncan. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4550-37-12SH To order your cop

Sidmouth College principal Kenny Duncan. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4550-37-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

The main block at Sidmouth College could be refurbished after the school was named as one of just four in Devon to benefit from a £2billion national programme of spending.

The Government’s Priority School Building (PSB) programme has identified the Primley Road campus as being in need of ‘extensive repair and refurbishment to remain open and operational’.

It is not yet clear how the money will be awarded, but the initial bid asked for the college’s main block to be refurbished inside and out.

Principal Kenny Duncan told the Herald this week: “I am ecstatic about the news.

“Since joining in 2012, I have focused on creating a school that Sidmouth could be proud of – improving the status, reputation and standing of the college in the local community has been a priority since day one.

“I am passionate about enabling every child attending the college to get the best possible examination results and have the best possible learning experiences along the way.

“We now have rapidly improving teaching and learning, fantastic staff and amazing students – all that was left was the building, and now we are going to get that too,” added Mr Duncan.

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“It’s a great present for the college’s 50th anniversary year.”

The details as yet are vague as all 277 schools awarded cash will have to be surveyed before the Department for Education makes the call on how much each is awarded. Many of the buildings at Sidmouth College date back 30 years and have not been updated, although in recent years the campus has gained a £980,000 maths block and received £637,000 to replace four dated temporary classrooms with a purpose-built premises.

Mr Duncan said the school will likely need to compromise on how the money is spent – but the survey may identify further work to be done.

The BSP has just entered its second phase, which is also set to benefit Exmouth Community College, Exeter Road Community Primary School and Whipton Barton Junior School.

The first phase identified the 260 schools in greatest need of improvement, which in almost all cases involved complete rebuilds.

Many were previously part of the Building Schools for the Future programme that was scrapped for being too time-consuming and costly by the coalition Government.

County councillor Stuart Hughes added: “I’m delighted the Government has recognised the urgent need for this major building project, which Devon County Council fully supports.

“It will help give our students a learning environment fit for the 21st century, which I am sure will inspire them to achieve even more in the future.”

MP Hugo Swire welcomed the news.