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School buildings need much more than ‘business as usual’ funding

students sat around tables

859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools will receive funding to improve their school buildings.

Over 1,000 school building improvement projects will receive the green light today as part of plans to boost the condition of the school estate.

859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools every region of the country will receive a share of a £456 million pot created to help refurbish and repair school buildings.

The funding will ensure that pupils can learn in safe, warm and energy-efficient classrooms.

Overall, the government has committed £1.8 billion of capital funding for the financial year 2023-24 to improve the condition of school buildings – including £1.1 billion for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and voluntary aided bodies announced in March.

Minister for the School System, Baroness Diana Barran MBE said:

Our Condition Improvement Fund has already completed over eleven thousand projects, making a difference to pupils and teachers across the country. These projects help to create safer learning environments that make a difference to the quality of education for pupils.

It’s hugely important that every school has access to high-quality learning facilities and these funding allocations will make sure that responsible bodies can start to plan ahead and get projects started to replace roofs, boilers and windows – so pupils and teachers can learn and work in a comfortable space.

The Department has allocated over £15 billion since 2015 to support the government’s priority for schools to have safe, well-maintained facilities that support a high-quality education for pupils.   

The announcement follows on from 239 new school buildings confirmed in December as part of the Schools Rebuilding Programme, with 400 out of 500 schools and sixth form colleges now been selected for rebuilds through the ten-year programme.

Sector Response

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“Funding for the school estate has been cut dramatically over the last decade and the government has itself admitted that the risk of collapse in some school buildings is now very likely.

“Current levels of funding fall woefully short of what is needed to address these worrying risks and ministers need to acknowledge this and show far greater ambition than this kind of ‘business as usual’ announcement, which is not new money and was previously announced in the spring Budget.

“What is needed is a massively expanded programme of investment in maintenance, repair and replacement of school buildings.”

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