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School Science Laboratories

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to ringfence funding for school science laboratories. (96998)

Decisions on allocating money for school science laboratories are made by local authorities, as they are best placed to decide upon priorities for capital funding. We have no plans to change this.

The Department is encouraging authorities to think imaginatively about school science provision. Accordingly, it is initiating the 'Faraday' project which will result in a series of exemplar designs for science laboratories being developed and a range of demonstration projects being built across the country. These designs will be exciting and inspirational, and will comply with existing space, cost and environmental guidelines.

Schools' capital funding, out of which school science laboratories can be funded, has never been higher. This year there is £5.9 billion of capital support, rising to over £8 billion by 2010-11. Much of this can be used to improve school laboratories. Building Schools for the Future will, in time, renew all secondary schools including their science provision. In the meantime, all schools have access to other funding including capital devolved to local authorities and to schools.

Capital funding includes allocations each year to every school for its own priorities. This year, a 1,000 pupil secondary school will receive over £100,000 for its needs, which can include the improvement of its laboratories. This can be rolled over to support larger projects, and be added to from other sources.