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School Building Condition: Effect on Learning

Volume 705: debated on Monday 6 December 2021

14. What steps he is taking to help ensure the school building programme takes account of the effect of building condition on learning. (904575)

I recognise the impact on education of buildings in poor condition, which is why we have allocated £11.3 billion since 2015 to improve the condition of schools. In addition, the school rebuilding programme will transform the learning environment of 500 schools over the next decade. We are considering responses to our consultation on prioritising the remaining places in the programme, and we plan to set out our response early next year.

I have unusual schools in my constituency, given the size of the rural population. I would like the Minister to meet me to discuss Witton-le-Wear Primary School, a small primary school in which the building is in quite good condition but the conditions for learning are not great, and Delta North School, an alternative provision provider that is looking to increase its provision for local people. I would look forward to it if he could meet me to discuss these two important constituency schools.

It was a pleasure to visit my hon. Friend’s constituency not so long ago. I understand that the layout at Witton-le-Wear poses challenges, although it has sufficient capacity. The previous Minister for School Standards, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Nick Gibb), met him in July to discuss the school, since when officials have visited the school and set out the funding available to the Durham local authority to prioritise local need. Of course I would be happy to meet him.

I understand that Delta North is an independent school and, as a private business, we expect it to secure its own investment for development. We know that independent AP can play a useful role in the system, but we rightly prioritise the needs of state-funded schools when allocating public funds.