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State Boarding Schools

Volume 554: debated on Monday 3 December 2012

13. What his policy is on capital allocations for state boarding schools; and if he will make a statement. (130882)

Capital maintenance funding for maintained state boarding schools is allocated through local authorities, and through the Education Funding Agency for schools that are voluntary-aided. In addition, devolved formula capital is allocated directly to boarding schools for their own use. Academies will continue to have access to the academies capital maintenance fund.

State boarding schools are the secret jewel in the crown of the state education system. However, the boarding parts of such schools and the maintenance of them are currently unfunded from capital allocations. Will the Minister take steps to resolve that, or at the very least allow state boarding schools to borrow against their boarding assets?

I know that my hon. Friend is a strong supporter of state boarding schools, and so are this Government. He will probably be aware that the State Boarding Schools Association recently met with Lord Hill to discuss some of these matters, and he may be interested to know that a further meeting is scheduled for the end of January next year. My hon. Friend will also know that my predecessor, the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr Gibb), took a sensible decision to include in the property data survey a review of boarding provision and the capital needs of boarding schools. My hon. Friend will be aware that the data survey will report back next year. At that time we will have the evidence base to make the right decisions to ensure that state boarding schools have good-quality assets.