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School Building

Volume 511: debated on Monday 7 June 2010

I am currently reviewing the methods by which capital has been allocated to schools, to ensure that we can build schools more effectively and cost-efficiently in the future.

I thank the Secretary of State for his answer. During the period of the last Labour Government, many roofs were repaired—when the sun was shining. Can he give an absolute guarantee that schools in a constituency such as mine, which were not part of that programme but still need some catching up, will be rebuilt or properly maintained?

I know that the hon. Gentleman has a number of great schools in his constituency that have benefited from investment, not least Manchester academy, which is achieving outstanding results. Manchester is approaching the conclusion of its final business case for specific funding under the Building Schools for the Future programme. I want to make sure that before we go any further we strip out any bureaucratic costs with which either Manchester’s council tax payers or Manchester’s teachers might be saddled to ensure that we get the maximum amount of spending to the front line.

May I thank my right hon. Friend for his commitment in general to driving up education standards across the country and in particular for his commitment, I hope, to the new academy to be formed by the merger of Central Technology college and Bishops’ college in my constituency of Gloucester? As he knows the timing insisted on by his predecessor on the other side of the House was incredibly tight and caused the academy to be formed in late July and to open next term. Parents, staff and pupils are all desperate for further information on progress that I understand depends on my right hon. Friend’s Department’s confirming absolutely that the academy is going ahead. Could he confirm that his Department will help with announcements—

I know how keen my hon. Friend is to make progress, as am I, so I shall be giving him an answer very shortly.

Will the Minister confirm as soon as possible that two schools in my constituency—President Kennedy and Woodlands, where the buildings go right back to the late 1960s and early 1970s and one of whose buildings is being held up on all four sides by scaffolding—will figure in the programme, and when can he confirm that to them?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that funding under the Building Schools for the Future programme had been allocated on the basis of deprivation, not the state or dilapidation of the building. I will consider the two schools that he mentions and write to him.