|Chiswick Community To Receive Major Grant|
Local school chosen by LEA as model for Building Schools for Future programme
Chiswick Community School has been chosen as the first school in the area to benefit from the 'Building Schools for the Future' programme.
The school, which was selected from six local schools after a lengthy process carried out by Hounslow LEA, will receive a huge cash injection over the next few years to remodel, renovate and enhance the structure of the site.
"We have in fact been planning for the past year or so with the pupils, parents and governors looking at what type of school we would want should we get the money," Headteacher Alan Howson told ChiswickW4.com.
"What we don’t want to do is build a whole series of classrooms in the same way as they built them in the 19th century. What we do want is to create a flexible facility which allows us to make the best of 21st century education. Something that is going to benefit the students for many years to come – and the community as well."
He continued, "We don’t know the exact amount as yet but it will be in the region of several million pounds and will involve looking at the whole school and what might need to be replaced and what might need to be remodeled.
"The older building that has been here for sometime there is no talk about getting rid of that building, we want that building to remain but some of the 60’s additions which make the building look quite ugly is what is likely to be rebuilt."
Mr Howson is in the process of finalising the school's Strategy for Change. "We want to make sure that as this project goes forward people are consulted and have the opportunity to say their feelings are. There are some core things we feel that everyone is in agreement with already and we are keen to progress. For example Year 7 opening minds programme – developing competencies to help them become more effective learners."
The funding will be mainly for 'bricks and mortar' but will also include running fibre optics throughout new and existing buildings as they are developed to enhance ICT resources. "But most of it is to do with buildings and landscaping, the learning environment is very important."
One element of the proposals includes the construction of an auditorium. "It's very much part of our strategy for change to include a such resource base - a theatre cum lecture theatre cum community centre where the facilities that can be used 24 hours a day and that may well have an enhanced six form area attached to it."
He continued, "So whilst that’s not agreed yet, we haven’t got to planning permission stage yet or even talked to architects yet, that is very much part of our thinking still that we will want to develop multi media performing arts centre which will encompass the musical arts drama etc and give another theatre space in the area because there is a lot of interest on that front from a lot of students."
Speaking about the existing building on the site, he said, "In practical terms we are likely to lose those 60’s buildings which are impractical and badly built but we will need to have the architects build something that is very much in keeping with the old building that enhances the old building and makes the best of all it’s features.
"I think the presence of the school and the look of it from the surroundings roads shows it’s a nice building and I want to maintain that, there are modern way in which you can enhance what’s here without it looking like an eye sore which it does at the moment."
Building Schools for the Future (BSF) is the biggest-ever school buildings investment programme. The aim is to rebuild or renew nearly every secondary school in England. The programme represents a new approach to capital investment bringing together significant investment in buildings and in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) over the coming years.
September 24, 2009