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Schools (Swindon)

Volume 469: debated on Monday 17 December 2007

Planning investment in schools is a local matter. In October, we announced the allocation of £52.8 million to Swindon borough council from 2008 to 2011 to support improvement to its school buildings and facilities. That included £14.9 million to start the primary capital programme. We will in due course discuss with Swindon its primary school plans and those for its secondary schools when it is prioritised in the building schools for the future programme. The Government will, of course, deliver in full on that programme to my hon. Friend’s constituents.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government will not suspend the building schools for the future programme? I am particularly concerned about Commonweal secondary school in my constituency —an excellent school that is struggling in difficult buildings that have twice been condemned by Ofsted. Will my hon. Friend give that school some comfort?

The Under-Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Kevin Brennan), visited that school recently. He has told me not only about the good work going on there and the value placed on the school by the local community, but about the state of the buildings. That is why it is of particular concern that the Conservative party plans to cut the building schools for the future programme by £4.5 billion. That, of course, would put the development of such schools at risk.

Order. We come to topical questions to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. May I point out that two Members on the Opposition Front Bench have put down their names to intervene in these topical questions? In future, I shall expect only one to do so. However, this time I shall let the matter go, given that it is Christmas.