Muslim school renovation on hold after government dallies

A decision on the future of Bolton Muslim Girls School were delayed for at least two months after the Government delayed making a decision — for the second time.

Bolton’s education bosses had hoped to hear in December whether they had been successful in their bid to be a part of a multimillion building programme to rebuild two secondary and three primary schools.

Bolton Council executive member of children’s services, Cllr Nick Peel, said: "This delay means that children are having to continue to work in sub-standard conditions.

Under BSF, the schools would not have been built yet, but the plans would have been displayed and there would be an excitement and morale would have been raised.

"The quality of teaching and learning is very important, but the environment does make a huge difference."

Bolton Muslim Girls School and Westhoughton High School were put forward because of their "inherent condition and suitability issues". It was said they needed "major investment" and "new facilities". Bolton Muslim Girls School does not have a canteen, playing fields or sports facilities.

The Priority School Building Programme was another chance to revamp some of the borough’s schools after the council suffered a devastating blow when the Building Schools for the Future programme was axed.

Westhoughton High School and Bolton Muslim School — which would have had complete new builds under BSF was put forward for the new £2 billion programme from the Government’s priority building programme.

The scheme was set up to address schools in the worst condition that had lost out when BSF —to improve secondary schools— and the primary school capital programme was scrapped.

Bolton lost £83 million worth of investment when the BSF scheme was axed in 2010 as well as millions of pounds under the primary school capital programme.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Partnerships for Schools are currently reviewing applications to the Priority School Building Programme to ensure there is a fair and rigorous selection of schools.

"Until all applications have been fully assessed, we are not able to announce which schools will be in the programme."