PUPILS cheered the news this week that Maltby Academy will receive £11.1 million for new buildings after the cash looked lost when Building Schools for the Future was axed last year.
Delighted principal Dave Sutton said that the money would help the school make bold and important statements about the future of education in the town.
The original £18 million plan, drawn up under the Labour Government, would have also seen investment in Lilly Hall Junior and Infants and Hilltop Special School, creating a learning campus for those aged 0 to 19.
It was scrapped last July by the new coalition Government, which said BSF was not cost-efficient and Maltby Academy was left in limbo for nearly six months.
Mr Sutton said: “Things were quite low when BSF fell through but this is a real opportunity. Building development here is long overdue.
“It’s not the 85 per cent new build we were originally planning towards, but in the current climate it is certainly not an insignificant amount.”
The Braithwell Road school, which became an academy a year ago, will have some new facilities and other, rundown areas completely refurbished.
Early plans are to have three key zones—business and enterprise, sports and science and performing arts. Parents and the community will be consulted this summer.
Mr Sutton said: “We will be meeting with architects over the next three months. We would like to move quickly on this and see work starting in 2011.
“The announcement brings much needed investment into the Maltby Learning Community at a time when funds for Capital building programmes are being sharply reduced.
“We hope that this latest investment and subsequent building programme will further raise aspirations across the learning community and lead to even higher standards of achievement.
“And even though Hilltop will not be rebuilt on the same campus, we will work together and they will have access to our facilities where appropriate.”
The school’s iconic clock tower will be preserved as the classrooms below are made fit for purpose.
Mr Sutton said: “There is a commitment to keeping the clock tower and front building and it will get some significant investment.”
Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron, a former pupil of the school, said: “It looks unlikely now that Hilltop will be replaced at any time in the near future. However, despite this disappointment, this is still good news for Maltby Academy.”
Maltby was chosen when Rotherham needed to designate an academy to qualify for BSF.
Last summer, 51 per cent of pupils achieved five GCSEs with English and maths, up from 45 in 2009.