All Saints National Academy: £2.5m funding bid for Bloxwich school revamp refused again
A crumbling school has been rejected for Government funding for the second time in two years - but bosses have vowed they will not be defeated.
The Government's Education and Skills Funding department's decision to refuse an application for £2.25 million to revamp All Saints National Academy in Bloxwich has been criticised as 'disgraceful' by a Parliamentary Candidate, while the director of education at the Lichfield Diocese, who made the application on behalf of the school, has said he 'will not give up' until money is secured to revamp the deteriorating building.
Planning permission had already been secured on behalf of the school to carry out a partial demolition of the site on High Street, as well as building extensions, however they were dependant on the school getting the cash boost from the departments Condition Improvement Fund.
Last year, schools minister Nick Gibb visited All Saints and commented on its condition, saying it was 'awful'.
However, bosses have been left disappointed after being turned down for funding two years in a row.
Colin Hopkins, the director of education at the Lichfield Diocese, which runs the school, said: "It is a massive disappointment, we had been working with the department for education and skills along the way and they have been helpful in directing us as to how we should best put our application together.
"From my understanding, they are looking to fund a number of smaller projects and the scale of ours was too big for one payout.
"We really thought that after Nick Gibb had seen the school that the message would be clear, we need the money here.
"The problem is that every time I visit the school, a bit more work needs doing so this situation isn't going to get any better, we are going to need to ask for more next time.
"However, we won't be giving in.
"Our plan is to go back and apply again and again until we get some money out of the Government.
"We have excellent teachers and talented pupils, we aren't going to let them down.
"It is a shame that these pupils think that working in these conditions is normal, it shouldn't be that way."
A planning application, which was submitted to Walsall Council on March 21, would see part of the site demolished, with three extensions also being built.
According to the application, extensions attached to the school in the 1960s were not built to last and are coming to the end of their days.
However, Mr Hopkins confirmed that that work was dependant on the school getting funding from the Government.
David Winnick, Labour candidate for Walsall North MP, has long rallied for money to be given to the school.
He said of the latest refusal: "I think it is disgraceful, I don't understand what they have to do to get the money they deserve.
"The schools minister has seen it for himself and you would have thought that would have got the message across.
"I am bitterly disappointed for everyone at the school and if I am elected again I will be taking this issue up at the very first opportunity."