Coronavirus washing stations installed in East Riding schools to help spread of virus
Coronavirus washing stations have been installed in East Riding schools amid an “extremely challenging” pandemic for funding and improvement works.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee heard sinks and other facilities had been installed to help control the spread of coronavirus.
Asset strategy officer James Timm told the committee the alterations came as improvement works at sites including Bridlington primary schools were finished or nearing completion.
But a report submitted to the committee also warned “pressures” remained on Government funding.
It also stated 17 per cent of children did not have access to places at good or outstanding Ofsted rated schools despite the Government aiming for one for every pupil.
It comes as two Department for Education (DfE) grants, £1.3m for basic needs and a £4.3m School Condition Allocation, had been received covering the 2021-22 financial year.
The council has also received a £700,000 high needs grant, with the £6.3m total for this financial year up from the £1.7m in DfE funding for 2020-21.
The report stated there was “no indication” of how much future basic needs funding would be and the coronavirus pandemic had pushed up some projects’ costs and led to delays.
It added the council had been able to fund projects in three quarters of East Riding schools including new classrooms creating room for a total of 60 more pupils.
The report stated: “Alongside the pressures on schools to improvement educational standards, they are now faced with the challenges of social distancing and controlling the spread of coronavirus.
“The council has worked closely with all schools and where required has made rapid improvements to school buildings to deal with the pandemic.
“Typically, this has been in primary schools where hand washing stations have been installed.”
The committee also heard the new St Anne’s Special School site in Hessle was set for completion by next Easter.
The project cost £7.1m from the council’s current £19.6m budget for capital building and improvement works.
Councillors heard plans were being drawn up for a new long stay two bedroom special needs children’s home in Anlaby, the first of its kind in the East Riding.
Works to replace the Victorian era Withernsea Primary School building are also nearing completion under its Priority Schools Building Programme.
Mr Timm said the council was set to begin a further round of works from next summer with ward members encouraged to tell officers about local schools in need of improvement.
Council Head of Education and Schools Deborah Myers said the amount of extra pupils expected to attend Howden Secondary School was in “single figures”.
It came as Cllr Linda Byram asked how many extra places would be put on in light of the roughly 2,500 new homes set for the area.
The report stated the council had decided to allocate children to schools within their catchment areas to stop some becoming oversubscribed with pupils from outside them.
It also stated the rate of East Riding schools converting to academies remained “low”, with around 24 per cent now carrying the status.