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Capital Investment in Schools, 2008-11

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

I am making a preliminary announcement of how £21.7 billion capital will be invested in schools between 2008 and 2011. This is investment for buildings and ICT allocated to the Department for Children, Schools and Families as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.

Good facilities where young people can learn and grow are a vital foundation for a good education. The report “Better Buildings, Better Design, Better Education” (DfES, 2007) showed that the Government’s investment programme has already made a difference for pupils around the country. Since1997, over 1,100 schools have been built new or rebuilt, 27,000 classrooms built or improved, and thousands more schools have had real improvements to science laboratories, sports facilities and other building and ICT projects. In 2007-08, around 180 schools will be built new or rebuilt, including the first through “Building Schools for the Future”.

The programmes for 2008-11 will drive our modernisation programme still further and faster. Investment will be £6,669 million in 2008-09, £7,024 million in 2009-10 and £8,035 million in 2010-11. Investment by 2010-11 will be seven times higher in real terms than in 1996-97. We are continuing the successful balance of programmes, established in 2004. These are: devolved programmes for every school and local authority; our long-term strategic programmes for primary and secondary education; and targeted programmes for key national investment priorities. I will make a further statement next week to set out the detailed allocations against each of these programmes.

Information and Communication Technology Funding

Most capital programmes can be used to invest in technology equipment. However, given its importance, there will be £837 million over three years specifically for ICT. Within this figure, I am introducing a new harnessing technology grant worth £603 million over three years. This grant replaces the previous disparate grants for technology. It allows schools, and local authorities on their behalf, to invest to meet local priorities in line with the objectives of the Department’s e-strategy. There will be further announcements on the remaining ICT funding.