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School Buildings (Runcorn)

Volume 542: debated on Monday 19 March 2012

The Petition of parents, staff and students at The Heath School and others in their community.

Declares that the petitioners are concerned about the poor state of the school’s buildings and accessibility for disabled people, and the small size of the classrooms, when considering future school capital spending allocations.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons gives consideration to any motion expressing concern at poor built environment in some schools, and requests that the Leader of the House and the Back Bench Business Committee schedule a debate on school buildings and facilities, and school capital expenditure.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Derek Twigg, Official Report, 25 January 2012; Vol. 539, c. 376 .]

[P000996]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Education:

This Government’s capital programmes give priority to the core needs of the school system: ensuring sufficient school places in those areas experiencing severe demographic pressures; and addressing the school buildings in the very worst condition.

Halton received £4.8 million in 2011-12 and £3.9 million in 2012-13 to address these needs. This funding could be used to improve accessibility, if that is a local priority. In addition to funding allocated directly to schools and local authorities, the new privately financed Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP) launched last year aims to target schools in the very worst condition. Applications, including one for The Heath School, are currently being considered.

One of the recommendations of the Review of Education Capital conducted by Sebastian James was to target capital funding better. To do that effectively we need to understand the current condition of the school estate. The Secretary of State announced in July 2011 that the Department for Education would collect up-to-date and comprehensive information on the condition of the school estate.

Our expectation is that this information will help to determine future allocations of capital funding.