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Swimming Pools

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding is available for swimming pools through the Building Schools for the Future programme; and whether there are plans to extend this provision. (80596)

Funding for Building Schools for the Future is allocated formulaically, based on pupil numbers and our area guidelines for secondary schools, published in ‘Building Bulletin 98’. Within ‘Building Bulletin 98’ swimming pools are considered to be a ‘supplementary area’—in other words they are not part of the core school facilities which we fund.

While Building Schools for the Future funding allocations do not include money for new swimming pools, we do allow existing pools to be refurbished within the programme. It is for each local authority to decide how to make the best use of its overall Building Schools for the Future funding allocation across the schools in a particular project and the scope of works at each school. A decision could be taken locally to put some of the available funding towards a swimming pool instead of the second of the two PE spaces allowed for in our guidelines, but only if the resulting provision satisfies the school’s PE curriculum as well or better than the standard provision.

There is also the option of exploring other sources of funding to supplement that from Building Schools for the Future. In order to help facilitate that locally the Department has produced guidance on joining-up funding in the context of Building Schools for the Future.