Businessman takes old school under his wing after shock at levels of underfunding

A South Tyneside businessman has gone back to the classroom in a bid to help out his former primary school.

Saturday, 7th October 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:02 pm
Former pupil at Toner Avenue Primary School, Hebburn, now successful businessman Grant Findlay with Year 6 pupils

Grant Findlay says he was left shocked and angered at the state of IT equipment at Toner Avenue Primary School in Hebburn, due to lack of funds.

During a visit to the school - in Johnston Avenue, Hebburn, - he also noticed it was in desperate need of a new library and reading materials.

Younsters help unload the new computers bought by Grant Findlay

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The school is set to be demolished in 2019 to make way for a more modern building for pupils.

However Hebburn-born Mr Findley - a former pupil and now the owner of Findlay Roofing and Building - says he is concerned about the conditions pupils currently having to learn.

Yesterday, along with his sales and marketing manager Tony Finnegan, he delivered new computers to the school - much to the delight of pupils.

Mr Findlay said: “There just seems to be a serious lack of under funding in primary schools. Clearly this is not just a local problem but a national problem and something needs to be done about it.

Younsters help unload the new computers bought by Grant Findlay

“This school is quite fortunate as they will be getting a new build in 2019. But what happens between now and then? What happens to those pupils?”.

He added: “When I look at the kids, I don’t see children, I see our future workforce.

“This school served me well as a kid.

“My plan is to take this school under my wing and do what I can to help.”

Headteacher Michael Arthur said: “This is the start of my second year at the school and when I received Grant’s email I was shocked.

“From a learning point of view, I don’t think schools should have to be helped by people like Grant and Tony, but it’s nice they want to come in and help their old school out.

“They are providing things that are necessary, but things that the school budget would just not stretch too.

“I don’t think I have heard of any other headteacher being approached and offered the kind of help that he is willing to give our school.”

Chair of governors Elizabeth Luke said: “We are delighted and gratefully accept Grant’s very kind donation.

“The school is changing. Yes it was placed in special measures years ago, but we have seen improvements.

“And we are very lucky to have such gifted teachers working with us and doing remarkable things with the resources we do have.”