A SMALL school in West Devon is celebrating a big cash boost this week after hearing it will receive more than £125,000 to refurbish its Victorian premises.

Gulworthy School is set to receive £126,000 in the latest round of spending plans agreed by Devon County Council?s executive committee.

Headteacher Peter Mawer said he was ?delighted? by the news: ?We are very pleased we are to be included in these proposals. Our building is basically a Victorian one and although various alterations have been done to it, the rooms are not really suitable for the very youngest children.?

The money will be put towards a new classroom for foundation stage children, plus a medical room and staff room.

Mr Mawer said: ?We are very pleased about this ? the school is popular locally, we have 75 children at present and really we?re bursting at the seams. This will enable us to improve our accommodation and provide things that strictly speaking we should have, like a staff room and medical room.?

Mr Mawer said the new accommodation would make a big difference to life at Gulworthy School, for both the children and the staff.

?Up to now we have made the best of what we?ve got ? the youngest children currently are in what used to be the headteacher?s house, but a purpose-built room is just what they need.?

He said his ?very hard working and loyal? staff, some of whom had been with the school for many years, would also appreciate the extra room.

Mr Mawer said when he first came to Gulworthy, almost 30 years ago, the school only had around 30 pupils and at one point faced the threat of closure.

?This investment really gives it a secure future and in a way proves that closure of small schools 20 years ago was a bit short-sighted,? said Mr Mawer.

Lewtrenchard Primary School is also set to benefit from the latest spending round, which will provide a classroom for the school?s youngest pupils.

Lewtrenchard has been awarded £122,000 for the provision of a dedicated classroom for the foundation class and an extension to an existing room to provide a school hall to be used for indoor physical education classes.

Headteacher Keith Urro said: ?I am absolutely delighted. The school is growing quickly. There are a number of infill developments in the village and the school really does need to improve its accommodation to cater for extra children coming to it.?

Mr Urro said at present the school could not provide physical education classes inside because it did not have the facilities, but the new hall would allow a range of sports and games to take place indoors.

He said the existing room used for assemblies would also be too small if the school continued to grow.

The school currently has 80 children. This is set to increase to 86 in September, but this increase does not take into account new housing developments going on in the village. Mr Urro said the primary school?s capacity at the moment was 82 pupils.

?When our roll increases, it would be very difficult to get all the children into the existing hall. So this demonstrates foresight on the school?s part and the LEA?s.

?We are working hand-in-hand with the LEA. We are all trying to improve the school together,? he added.

The Gulworthy and Lewtrenchard improvement grants are part of a record overall investment by Devon County Council this year, which has seen the overall school spending budget increase to £51.2 million.

The extra £5.5 million-worth of investment follows the announcement in March, when the county?s school building programme was fixed at more than £45 million.