Todmorden High rebuild - ‘the cash is there’

Mr Andrew Whitaker, headteacher at Todmorden High School.
Mr Andrew Whitaker, headteacher at Todmorden High School.

Funding for a new £5 million building at Todmorden High School IS secure, it was confirmed as the school broke up for the half-term holiday.

Doubt had been cast on whether the transformation - to rebuild the town’s High School, now 50 years old - which is due to start next summer would go-ahead, as reported in the Todmorden News on October 16.

Earlier this year Calderdale Council’s Labour Cabinet announced a multi-million pound phased rebuild but Labour councillors claimed the current Conservative-led administration’s statement that it would review all decisions previously made by Labour may put it at risk.

But at the end of term headteacher Mr Andrew Whitaker was able to share with parents news he had received from the council’s education department and commented on the issue to the newspaper.

He said he had met with Mr Stuart Smith, director of children and young people’s services, who confirmed that the funding for the new building is secured and the school could expect an architect working with them by late November.

In a letter to the school, Mr Smith said: “Clearly Todmorden High School is the highest priority in terms of school refurbishment for Calderdale Council. That is why the largest sum to be spent on any school by the council is the sum set aside for the phased refurbishment at the school. I hope this is the first of a number of stages which will transform the site.

“In addition, we have also submitted our bid to the Government for the priotity Schools Building Programme and if this is successful it would complement and add to the current plans.

“However, whether we get additional Government capital money or not Todmorden remains our focused priority as we must improve this facility.

“It is not a good use of bresources to keep patching up some parts of the building that are past their reasonable lifespan - we need to renew these areas completely as soon as funds allow, the pupils deserve the best we can afford.”

Mr Whitaker said this week: “I am delighted that all the adults involved with the school including Governors, staff and the local authority remain committed to ensuring that the community of Todmorden and most importantly, our students, get the school that they so richly deserve.

“Our resounding endorsement of this is the Local Authority’s commitment to invest £5m on a new building for the school. In addition to this, they have worked very closely with the school to submit multiple bids for the national government ‘Priority School’s Building Fund’.

“In addition the local authority have confirmed their commitment to a phased and complete rebuilding of the high school.”