Jim is today congratulating Ely College on their successful bid to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for £2.5m to develop a new science block. The plans will enable the school to transform the existing science rooms into general purpose teaching spaces and vacate the upper floors of the Needham's tower, which is no longer suitable for use.
The bid was lodged with the EFA in March under its Academies Capital Maintenance Fund 2012. The agency received bids for nearly 2,500 projects from over 1,000 schools, totalling £1.16bn. However, only half of the schools received funding for their bids, with a total of £250m going to 773 projects around the country.
"This is such fantastic news for the College and its community," explained Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, Principal. "Ely has been growing for some time, and this investment will allow us to improve our provision in a number of really important areas to meet the needs of the city and its young people. Our science department has been outstanding for a number of years now, and their move to this purpose built new teaching block can only enhance the work of this ambitious and innovative team further. The refurbishment of our existing science rooms will also provide excellent new teaching rooms for several other departments, allowing us to effectively close off the upper floors of the deficient Needhams Tower and yet still gain considerable space overall."
This new build will be the first phase of an ambitious long term rolling capital renewal plan that could see the school's entire stock of buildings replaced over the next decade, resulting in a school site more appropriate for the 21st century, without disrupting the ongoing work of our staff and students. The plan is ambitious in scope but also realistic in terms of the availability of public funds, taking account of Ely's predicted population growth, and the proposed development of a new secondary school in Littleport.
Jim said: "This is fantastic news! I fully support Ely College's ambitious plans to improve their site and this news is a huge step towards providing our young people with the school they deserve."
The College is now working with its project management team and the EFA to finalise a schedule for the build, with work due to commence over the summer, towards a planned completion around Easter 2013.