CELEBRATIONS are in order at Queen Elizabeth’s High School in Gainsborough at news the school will benefit from a £2 million boost.
Pupils and teachers at the 11-18 grammar school arrived back after half term to hear that Lincolnshire County Council has agreed in principle to invest the money in capital projects over the next three years.
The pledge has come at just the right time as the 1940s school buildings on Morton Terrace are becoming tired and in some cases unfit for pupils and teachers to use.
“We are thrilled for the whole school community that the local authority have decided to invest such a large sum of money in the school,” said headteacher Mr David Allsop.
“Students and staff at QEHS will always do the best with what they have, but this new significant capital money will mean that we can create teaching spaces that are inspirational for learning.”
QEHS celebrated its 420th birthday last year, although the current site dates back to 1940 when the girls and boys grammar schools moved to Morton Terrace, the site of Gainsborough’s old technical college.
Mr Allsop said since he arrived in September 2009 he has had four main concerns about the school’s infrastructure and its impact on the safety and teaching of pupils.
“We had leaking roofs, an intermittent fire alarm system, 70-year-old boilers and a cold water feed which would leak through ceilings,” he said.
“At one point last year I had to close one corridor because the fire alarm could not be heard.”
“And during the cold winter last year I arrived each morning wondering if the boiler system would be working.”
Some of these problems have already been solved thanks to £600,000 investment from the council.
But there is still a long way to go, and now everyone at QEHS can look toward a brighter future.
When asked if there was ever a chance of the school having to close because of the dilapidated state of the buildings, Mr Allsop said:
“It got to a point where it was having an impact on the children’s learning, and if this money hadn’t come along the school would have limped along.”
“If someone came along tomorrow and offered the money to build a brand new school, we’d have to consider it.”
“But I don’t think we need it at the moment. The main part of the school is pretty well built.”
The main issues Mr Allsop said he would like to tackle are removing the old portable classrooms and satellite buildings around the site, to replace them with a proper classroom block.
He added: “We also need new science labs but that might have to come at a later stage.”
Chris Underwood-Frost who is on the QEHS board of governors said he hoped £2 million investment was just the start.
He said: “I understand we need between £7 million and £9 million to put the school right. But in these seriously difficult times, for the county council to recognise the difficulties the school is having is a brilliant step forward.”
“I’m very proud that the governors and teachers have worked together with the county council to achieve this funding.”
The school will now work with the local authority to begin the task of drawing up plans for where the £2 million should be spent.
Head boy Mathew Hunsley said he can’t wait to see how the money will be spent.
“QEHS is a fantastic school but no one can deny it has needed some investment,” he said.