As local resident will know, the Tories aided and abetted by the Lib Dems cut nearly £30 million from our local school-building programme. We have a few schools still going ahead – and one of them is a new Saltley school, not renewed on any major scale since 1928!
Liam and Saltley pupils plant a tree from Prince Charles
Here’s the update I’ve got on plans, overseen by the amazing head, Anne Cole…
Our Ref: HT/MAC/jmc
14th June 2010
Mr Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Thank you for your recent letter and interest in the Saltley BSF project. In response to the specific questions you have raised:
1) The Building Schools for The Future programme is seen by the school as fundamental to providing the local community with the school it deserves to meet the educational requirements of local children in the 21st century.
Saltley School was originally built in 1928 and many of the school buildings and classrooms are outdated and in need of major repair works. Classrooms generally are too small with 30 pupils being taught in rooms as small as 35m2 (against a government recommended size of 56m2).
The School’s smaller gym is not fit for purpose and will be demolished whilst the School’s largest gym is prone to flooding every time it rains heavily. A key part of the plan is to provide a new Sports Hall to cater for the needs of the pupils and the community.
All of the specialist teaching areas urgently require modernisation and new equipment.
We can also create a purpose built dining hall to replace the current modular building.
The BSF project also allows for Saltley School to admit an extra form of entry of pupils per year. This is required to address the deficit of local school places due to the rising local population in this area.
2) The school is now applying for planning permission having agreed the 1:200 designs of the refurbished/remodelled school. Financial Close is scheduled for the end of 2010 and building work will start Dec 2010 / Jan 2011.
The school has been planning this project for over 4 years with full consultation with parents, pupils, staff and the local community.
The school has also been active in helping shape the Birmingham BSF project as a whole by helping select the preferred bidder and acting as schools representatives throughout the sample scheme programme. Saltley’s Business Manager was part of the FM working group that drew up the Birmingham BSF FM contract which was rated in an independent gateway review by 4Ps as ‘The best FM contract in the country’. Work is ongoing in this area with Birmingham Schools Representatives working with BCC and Catalyst to ensure that the schools achieve the best value for money possible through the BSF process.
3) We envisage the new Saltley School being a state of the art teaching facility with equipment and facilities to meet 21st century learning.
The ICT investment will mean that local children, from one of the top 1% deprivation index areas, will have access to some of the best ICT facilities in the country.
The school will be modernised to be fully DDA compatible allowing us to cater for pupils with disabilities for the first time.
4) Our vision is incorporated into the BSF Output specification , part of which follows:
We wish at Saltley School to be regarded as an exemplary centre of Excellence in Education, dedicated to nurturing a strong sense of purpose, ambition and confidence throughout the entire school community.
Pupils at Saltley will strive to achieve and exceed challenging academic, personal and social targets though a culture of enterprise, innovation and creativity.
Staff at Saltley will promote the highest standards of spiritual, moral and ethical development to enable our pupils to become Global Citizens.
We will develop and nurture high quality teaching and learning in an inspirational environment.
An improved lunchtime experience for all the school is a priority and a vibrant, airy, light dining area with appropriate spaces for queuing and serving will encourage pupils and staff to enjoy healthy meals in a safe and sociable environment.
Saltley’s specialism, science, will pervade all other curriculum areas and be possibly linked to ICT and Maths.
Curriculum areas, on a cluster basis, will be capable of delivering the curriculum, initially through traditionally based, departmental models, but will also be adaptable and flexible enough to respond to the inevitable changes in curriculum needs and the consequent changes in pedagogy these will bring.
A priority is the security of the site to ensure the health and safety of staff and pupils. This is of particular importance because of the extensive nature of the site.
The newly refurbished building will also enable expansion for post 16 provision and the architects are indicating the possible location on the site master plan.
The final building will inevitably be a compromise which is limited by:
a) The available funding
b) The outdated recommendations of BB98 (ironic for a 21st Century building!)
c) The constraints of refurbishing a 1928 building
However we are confident the many hours of detailed work we have put into the plans will produce a massively improved school which we eagerly anticipate.
We enclose a draft copy of the Planning Design Access Statement for your interest which we feel neatly summarises Saltley’s BSF project.