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West Berkshire Council to invest £43M over next three years on schools and education services

2020 - School construction

West Berkshire Council plans to invest £43 million on new builds, expansion and improvement of schools, and the refurbishment of education-related care facilities across the District in its Education Capital Programme for 2020-2023. This also includes provision for new equipment and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Recent major successes include the £8.8 million site purchase and new build of Theale Primary School, refurbishment of the Castle Gate respite care home in Newbury (£128k), Hungerford Primary School kitchen expansion (£417k), and extensive repairs carried out at Falkland Primary School, Newbury (£474k).    

Projects scheduled for completion over the next six months include:

  • Highwood Copse, Newbury - new primary school (£7.7m)
  • Winchcombe Primary School, Newbury - increased accommodation to cater for a greater number of pupils (£341k)
  • Trinity Secondary School, Newbury - extension to the main school building to provide a new science classroom and larger two storey extension at the front to provide further additional classrooms (£2.3m)

Additional projects scheduled for completion throughout 2021 - 2022 include:

  • Parsons Down Partnership, Thatcham - bringing the junior and infant schools together into the same building to rationalise accommodation in line with pupil demand and improve financial efficiency. The project also includes the renovation and expansion of outdoor play areas (£1.5m)
  • The Willink School, Burghfield - expansion project to increase the size of the sports changing rooms (completed), build a new English studies block with seven classrooms and associated facilities, and refurbish several other rooms (£2.9m)

Following a successful funding bid by West Berkshire Council, a separate project is under construction by the Department for Education to erect a new £14.8 million building for Little Heath Secondary School in Tilehurst. Works are currently scheduled for completion by early 2021.

Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: "We are pleased to announce our spending plans, new builds and other works underway for schools and education services for the benefit of students, teachers and carers. Our education capital programme for 2020-2023 reflects the various and diverse needs across West Berkshire. This includes creating more school spaces in certain areas and catering for pupils with special needs.

"Although the onset of Covid-19 heavily impacted construction timetables over the past several months, we are now actively underway with progressing the rest of the projects scheduled for completion within the three year programme."

Yvonne Mubanga, Project Delivery Team Leader, Finance and Property, West Berkshire Council, added: "With regards to refurbishment works, we have 65 projects on average per year. These works typically address heating and/or hot water supply, water ingress through roofs and/or windows, and renovating school playgrounds and playing fields. In the case of Falkland Primary School, we have undertaken much needed works on the roofing, cladding and windows; replaced ceilings throughout; refurbished toilets; and replaced boilers.

"Our ongoing liaison with all stakeholders ensures that works are completed without compromising school operations as far as practicable."