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The Somerset Guardian, 24th May 2023

As Winston Churchill once said: 'We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.'

This was in Churchill's speech on 28th October 1943 to Parliament as part of the debate on establishing a committee to rebuild the House of Commons after it had been bombed in World War 2. However, this quote can be applied to any building, whether it is listed or simply performs a functional role, and the value of wanting to preserve them or any feelings of pride in them should never be underestimated.

The Government understands that school buildings and classrooms especially need to be safe, warm and energy efficient. Therefore, it has announced that 859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools will receive funding to improve their school buildings from £450 million of taxpayers' money being spent by the Department for Education.

This week, I was delighted to receive confirmation from the Department that Chew Stoke Church School has been successful in applying for a portion of the fund in order to help improve its design of the school and therefore, the overall scope for health and safety and fire safety. This will no doubt be much appreciated, especially as pupils from the school wrote to me recently with their concerns about climate change and any enhancements will help with saving energy and keeping running costs down.

Over £15 billion has been allocated since 2015 to support the Government’s priority for schools to have safe, well-maintained facilities for pupils. Over 1,000 school building improvement projects will be started to augment the condition of the school estate, following on from over 200 that were announced last December.

This policy is a good example of a national scheme working locally, something that the Government has, since 2010, excelled at in its bid to give the power of decision-making back to local authorities, schools and communities.

It is important that every school has access to proper learning facilities and this extra money will ensure that pupils and teachers can continue learning and teaching in a safe environment, taking care of the place that is giving so much to them.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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