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Listed School Premises

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the policy of his Department is on the demolition of listed school premises where a school is rebuilt under (a) Building Schools for the Future and (b) the primary capital programme; (113755)

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure the preservation of listed school premises.

We are committed to improving school buildings so that they are suitable for teaching and learning in the 21st century. In all of our capital programmes, including Building Schools for the Future and the primary capital programme, the Department promotes good design in all its forms, whether in new buildings or adaptations of old buildings.

The listing of buildings is the responsibility of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and English Heritage, while the development control system that protects them is the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government. Decisions under these arrangements relating to listed school buildings are a local matter.

The Department for Education and Skills supports the protection these arrangements give to listed schools. We believe that existing buildings of historic or architectural interest, particularly if listed, should be retained for school use where they can meet modern expectations for teaching and learning. Where this is not possible, the Department shares English Heritage’s view that alternative use should be found rather than the building demolished.

The Department collaborated recently with English Heritage on a publication “The Future of Historic Buildings” which seeks to increase understanding about dealing with historic school buildings in the light of our long-term school building programme.