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Building Schools for the Future

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria he uses to decide which local education authorities will be included in early phases of the Building Schools for the Future programme. (99301)

Building Schools for the Future aims to provide 21st century facilities for all secondary pupils over the long term. In line with this Government’s priorities, we have started with those schools with poorest educational standards and highest social need, where we think the investment can have greatest impact. We chose projects in waves 1 to 3 of Building Schools for the Future using the following published criteria. We selected wave 1 projects by:

ranking local authority proposals according to the data on standards and deprivation across the schools in the proposed geographical area;

assessing whether the strategic proposals were appropriate to address the educational issues of the schools in the area and whether the capital investment would reinforce action/plans/strategies in place for school improvement;

assessing whether the local authority had the capacity to deliver such a large procurement;

assessing the total value of all the proposals with reference to the available budget; and

checking the overall package of proposals to ensure regional market capacity, deliverability and value for money.

We selected wave 2 and 3 projects from local authorities’ expressions of interest according to:

relative educational and social need, as measured by pupils’ GCSE attainment and eligibility for free school meals; and

the phasing and financial requirements of school buildings across the whole programme.

Wolverhampton’s secondary schools are due to be included in a project in waves 4 to 6. We will announce which wave by the end of the year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) local education authorities and (b) schools have participated in Building Schools for the Future since its introduction; and in how many projects (i) a contract has been signed and (ii) construction has begun. (99927)

39 local authorities and 353 schools have participated in Building Schools for the Future since its introduction. The first contract was signed in June in Bristol and construction has already started in that authority.