Head with firm plans to build for future success

First published in News

IT IS the people, not the building, which makes a school successful, according to the headteacher of a popular school.

Bob Flood is the headteacher of Harper Green School in Farnworth, a campus which dates back to the 1920s.

The building was due to be transformed before the plug was pulled on the Building Schools for the Future programme.

And it now seems that Bolton keeps suffering knock-back after knockback when it comes to rebuilding schools The borough lost £83 million worth of investment when the BSF scheme was axed in 2010.

Education chiefs will have to wait until at least March to find out whether their bid to be part of a new multimillion pound building programme to rebuild two secondary and three primary schools is successful.

The Priority School Building Programme was another chance to revamp some of the borough’s schools — albeit less than would have been done under BSF.

But, said Mr Flood: “I would not want to swap what we have.

“It is not a new building which raises standards its the people, the pupils, the staff and the relationship with parents.

“I can tell you that this building will be here long after the new schools have gone.”

Mr Flood worked in Lancashire before becoming headteacher of Harper Green. In fact Mr Flood was overlooking plans for a new build at his old school before BSF was axed.

The plans did not inspire him.

“It was a specialist sports college and under the new plans there was not going to be a gym. Twelve million pounds may sound a lot but when it comes to a new build it is not,” explained Mr Flood, who added that Harper Green School had two professionally sized indoor tennis courts, which could be used to stage other sporting activities, sports hall and gym.

He added: “There are positives to a new build, but the new schools which were built three or four years ago were built when education had a different focus, when there were diplomas, now there is a return to a more academic education.

“This building has the flexibility to adapt to change, and bringing in 21st century teaching without the need for a new building.”

The school has revolutionised the use of technology in the school, introducing Kindles, iPads and bringing in modern equipment to respond to the needs of pupils when needed.

“Under BSF schools were tied into a contract and could not bring in new equipment without the say so or move interactive whiteboards without having to bring someone in or speak to someone in America. We have the flexibility to bring in technology to respond to pupils’ needs,” said Mr Flood.

He added: “We have been able to adapt and change this building, we have professional standard dance studios, and are thinking about an outdoor theatre.

This building is more adaptable than some of the new builds.”

The head said positives of a new build are it marks a fresh start for a school, attracts pupils and allows integration of departmental areas, such as the art department together as well as having a positive psychological impact.

But said Mr Flood the government has to move away from the fact one size fits all.

“I feel that the Government should look at individual schools, their needs and build upon what they do and make schools more apart of the community.”

Pupil Chelsea Edge, aged 15, said: “I like this building, it has character and departments are together. I am not disappointed that we have not had a new build.”

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