After funding setbacks and delay, this September finally saw a new building for Shiney Row Primary School. This is a huge improvement for around 300 pupils, as well as school teachers and staff.
The Coalition government launched the Priority School Building Programme in 2011 to replace the Building Schools for the Future Programme established by the previous Labour government. In July 2011 the Education Secretary at the time, Michael Gove MP told the House of Commons that the Building School for the Future programme was “not as efficient as it could have been. Specifically, it did not prioritise schools in the worst condition and it did not procure new buildings as cheaply as possible.” 
In 2012, five schools in Sunderland, including Shiney Row Primary School, were on in the list of the first phase of the programme as schools to be prioritised. However, from 2010 to 2014 total capital spending by the Department of Education (DE) has been dramatically cut, and school building developments were put on hold. Sunderland schools on the priority list suffered from the funding struggle. Pupils, parents, teachers and staff had to continue using crumbling old buildings until the government finally put in place the funding in 2014.
On Friday 30th September, Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, Bridget Phillipson visited the new building, and met with head teacher Paul Ashton, Chair of the Governing Body Arthur Falconer, teachers and pupils.
Commenting on the new building, Bridget Phillipson said:
“I am very glad to see the new building open for this new term. Pupils, parents, teachers and staff have waited for too long for this modern new building that meets their needs.
“Mr Ashton, along with all teachers and staff, has done a wonderful job. Shiney Row Primary is performing well and the whole team want to give the children the best possible start in life.
“What worries me even more is the current funding level for education is lower than that five years ago. I will continue to fight in parliament for a fair funding deal for our local schools.”
DE spending has been further reduced in 2015-16, resulting in a level around 40% below the 2009-10 budget in real terms. This means it will continue to be difficult for schools in need of upgrade to get the funding for it.
- Hansard<http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110719/debtext/110719-0001.htm#11071988000003>, debate on School Funding Reform on 19 July 2011.
- Priority School Building Programme – Schools Prioritised for the Programme<https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276240/psbp_-_schools_prioritised_for_the_programme.pdf>, Department for Education, 18 June 2012.
- School Buildings and Capital Funding (England)<http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7375>, House of Commons Library briefing, 7 September 2016.