Millions needed to repair faults in town's primary schools

Boost: Jump primary school has been given a 10,000 to help pay for maintenance work
Boost: Jump primary school has been given a 10,000 to help pay for maintenance work
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A spending shortfall of more than £5.6m has been identified for work needed on primary schools in Barnsley with the council £2.6m short of the money it needs to carry out even the most urgent maintenance.

The Department for Education makes an annual payment to local authorities for the work needed to their estate of buildings, but Barnsley Council has seen that cut by £148,000 this year.

That has left the authority juggling an income of £1.182m against a backlog of work which is estimated at £6.83m to complete.

Virtually half of that total is made up of items classed as ‘high priority’, which should be done within 18 months but the available budget will cover barely a third of that work.

Councillors on the authority’s ruling cabinet will be told next week: “the available funding will be insufficient to deal with the high priority items.

“It is therefore highly unlikely that any medium priority items will be addressed within this period. These items will continue to deteriorate and will be reviewed and monitored to ensure that they are re-prioritised should the need arise.”

Barnsley Council is no longer responsible for maintaining secondary schools as they were all replaced under a private finance initiative deal several years ago and its catalogue of primaries has also diminished because of some becoming academies and others being replaced under PFI, where the build contractor remains responsible for maintenance.

The DFE award of £1.172m has been topped up with a grant of £10,000 specifically for work at Jump primary school.

Those expected to benefit from spending in the next 12 months include Gawber primary, where a re-roofing project costing £100,000 is planned, Burton Road primary, where a roof and rooftop playground will be installed at a similar cost and Barugh Green primary where another £100,000 has been allocated for roofing.

A playground extension and multi use games area at Milefield School in Grimethorpe should cost £90,000 and work to deal with asbestos will also take place at several schools.

It is expected much of the work will be done during school holidays, to avoid disruption.