The Friary School has successfully gained a Conditions Improvement Fund (CIF) Bid worth over £200,000 from the Department for Education which will be used to replace the roof on the school’s Sports Hall

The Sports Hall is an integral part of the school – used for both for PE lessons and main school examinations – and with the poor state of the building deteriorating over many years the school was keen to use their academy status to secure funding that was otherwise unavailable as a LEA school.

The new roof will prevent the on-going leaks, provide better insulation and so reduce heating costs, negate potential Health & Safety risks, and allow the school to steadily move forward with other phased work including damp-proofing, a new floor, structural work and internal decoration. Eventually, this will see a full upgrade of the facility. This will have to have an element of self-funding but the first priority has been to get the building waterproofed.

The Sports Hall is also used for community use – along with the Dance Studio, the Astroturf and the playing fields – and this funding bid means the facility will be better secured for the long-term benefit of local sports and activity groups. Additionally, the Sports Hall has benefited from similar funding with improved lighting and security systems put in place.

Indeed, the community provision connected to this facility is extensive and encompasses football, dance, martial arts, rugby, badminton> Elsewhere, it was also freely granted as an emergency food distribution hub during the COVID pandemic. In recent years the school has also opened up their facilities to community Summer Schools too.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “Anyone who has been in the Sports Hall will be well aware that it had deteriorated to a poor state. Our move to academy status represented the best opportunity to upgrade this school and community facility which otherwise would have simply worsened. Consequently, we are delighted that at lot of hard work and perseverance has resulted in this bid having been won.”

“Since academising in September 2019 our school has won over £3,000,000 in CIF funding and this has been used to upgrade the site and facilities for both education and community purposes. This has included a full electrical re-wire, extensive security work, refurbishment of rooms, and main building roofing. Nowadays, the educational world requires schools – as with all public sector bodies – to be pro-active and effective in bringing in the funds from wherever they can to make good their provision, and when we can also use it to deliver on community activities, then it is a double win for us.”