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Schools Capital Allocations

Volume 624: debated on Tuesday 18 April 2017

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System (Lord Nash) made the following written statement on 3 April 2017.

Today, I am announcing £2.4 billion of capital funding to create new school places needed by September 2020 and to maintain and improve the condition of school buildings. This forms part of our wider plan to invest more than £24 billion in the school estate by 2021.

We want to build a country that works for everyone—and that means providing a good school place for every child, one that offers them the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Investing in our school buildings and creating a sufficient amount of school places are key parts of the Government’s plan to ensure that every child has the opportunity of a place at a good school, whatever their background.

We are committed to investing £7 billion in this Parliament to create new school places. Together with our further investment in free schools we expect this to deliver 600,000 new school places over the course of the Parliament. We have already announced £4.8 billion of funding to local authorities for 2015-19, and today we are announcing a further £980 million for 2019-20, taking total investment so far through this Parliament to £5.8 billion. In doing so, we continue to recognise that good investment decisions require certainty. Announcing allocations for 2019-20 today means local authorities can plan years ahead with confidence, and make good strategic investment decisions to ensure they deliver good school places for every child who needs one.

Alongside this new funding we are publishing data from the 2016 School Capacity Survey, which highlights the progress made by local authorities to date in providing new school places using our previous investment. By May 2016, our investment had already helped to create nearly 735,000 additional school places since 2010, with 136,000 delivered in 2015-16 alone.

Alongside this investment in new school places, we are committing more than £10 billion over 2016-21 to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate. As part of this, I am today confirming allocations of £1.2 billion for local authorities, voluntary aided partnerships, multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors to invest in their own condition priorities, and a further £0.2 billion of devolved formula capital directly to schools in the financial year 2017-18. This allocation includes the Condition Improvement Fund which is providing funding of £466 million for 1,435 projects across 1,184 academies and sixth-form colleges. These projects will help to ensure that children across the country have access to a good school place, further supporting them to reach their full potential.

This funding will help improve the quality of school buildings across the country, targeting schools with the highest need. It can also help schools reduce their running costs, by replacing outdated facilities with buildings that are more efficient to run. So I want schools, local authorities and academy trusts to look carefully at how they can achieve the best value from this investment.

Details of today’s announcement will be published on the website, and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.