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Schools: Primary School Places

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009


My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Schools and Learners (Vernon Coaker) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

It has become apparent in recent months that some local authorities are facing sudden and sharp increases in demand for primary pupil places. I am today announcing that £200 million of capital funding will be made available in the next financial year to authorities with exceptional need to assist them in building additional permanent primary school places by September 2011.

Detailed guidance on applying for this funding will shortly be made available by my department. Local authorities will have four weeks to apply and I aim to announce allocations in September.

This funding is in addition to the £1.75 billion of additional investment being made available through the Primary Capital Programme over the next two years, which is supported by significant additional investment committed by local authorities. It is also in addition to the £939 million of capital investment which has been brought forward from 2010-11 to 2009-10 to accelerate thousands of school modernisation projects across England and support jobs and local businesses.

I am also announcing today that the following six local authorities will enter the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme this month: Barnet, Bolton, Hampshire, Peterborough, Sunderland and Wigan. Five of these authorities are new to BSF in line with our aim of getting all authorities into the programme as soon as is practicable.

These six authorities have now demonstrated satisfactorily to Partnership for Schools (PfS) that they are fully ready to start the full development of their projects. Another six local authority projects will join the programme in three months’ time, with a further six three months after that. This rate of starts will maintain the current rate of delivery of BSF.

This is a prudent and affordable rate of progress for our major strategic programme to renew our schools infrastructure, and which brings benefits for the wider community as well as children.