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Schools across the country to receive state of the art refurbishments   

Education Secretary James Cleverly

Sixty-one schools across the country are set to receive state of the art rebuilds or refurbishments that will transform education for their pupils.

In his first announcement as Education Secretary, James Cleverly confirmed the investment to provide thousands of children access to new, modern classrooms as part of the Prime Minister’s flagship School Rebuilding Programme.

The projects will be backed by over £1bn of funding.

Work to deliver the projects will start immediately. It will include updating and modernising buildings, and creating state of the art facilities such as new sports halls, music rooms, science labs and dining areas.

The new school buildings will be net-zero carbon in operation, helping meet the Government’s net zero target.

The schools in this round include primary, secondary, and special schools, with eleven in the North West, ten in the North East and six in Yorkshire and the Humber, helping level up education for children of all ages and right across the country.

Since 2010, around 500 schools have been refurbished or rebuilt under government programmes.

Education Secretary James Cleverly said:

“Our School Rebuilding Programme is already making a difference to the lives of pupils and their teachers. It is creating greener school sites that are fit for the future and that local communities can be proud of.

“We know how important it is to have high-quality school facilities. That is why we continue to invest billions in our rebuilding programme.”

Headteacher of Framwellgate School Durham, Andy Byers said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that Framwellgate School Durham has been chosen to be part of the School Rebuilding Programme.

“Our school was designed and built in the 1960s and is old and tired and very poorly designed. With a new building we will be able to give our students facilities and a learning environment which will inspire them, and our staff, in the working environment they deserve.”

Schools selected in round one of the programme such as West Coventry Academy and St John Fisher Catholic High School in Wigan are benefitting from a full replacement of all their buildings. The work will transform the environment children learn in including brand new sports facilities enabling more children to take part in physical activity.

The commitment to rebuild and refurbish the schools most in need is part of Government’s wider Schools White Paper commitments, to ensure that by 2030 every child will be taught a broad and ambitious curriculum in a school with high expectations and strong standards of behaviour.

From early years onwards, all children will be taught a broad, ambitious, knowledge-rich curriculum and have access to high-quality extra-curricular provision. To achieve this, staff and pupils need access to top facilities.

Alongside the new rebuilding programme, the government has committed £1.8 billion in financial year 2022-23 for maintaining and improving the school estate, as part of £13.1 billion allocated since 2015.

The full list of schools can be found here.

Sector Response

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“This year capital funding for schools is £1.9bn less than it was in 2009 in real terms. Sowhilst  this one-off £1billion to spend on school buildings is welcome, it needs to be compared against what has been cut – which is fifty times larger.

“Capital spending was the largest cut to education and was imposed immediately after the 2010 election. If the Government had not cut Labour’s school rebuilding programme, £27bn more would have been spent on school and college buildings.

“The National Audit Office itself highlighted in its 2017 report Capital Funding for Schools that £6.7 billion was needed to restore all school buildings to a satisfactory condition and a further £7.1 billion to bring parts of school buildings from a satisfactory to good condition. The NEU believes these figures are likely to be an underestimate as they were formed from the DfE’s 2014 Property Data Survey, so parts of the school estate will have deteriorated further since then.

“This 2014 survey also did not take asbestos into account, so these figures make no assessment of the cost of asbestos management and removal. 60% of schools were built before 1976 and around 85% of schools contain asbestos, which not only makes them more difficult and expensive to maintain, but a riskier environment to work or learn in.”

CEO of All Saints Catholic Academy Trust (ASCAT), Mr Stephen Wheatley said:

“We are delighted that St John’s Catholic Primary School has been chosen to be included in the government’s School Rebuilding Programme. This represents a fantastic opportunity for the school community to work with the DfE to provide a new, modern school building that will serve countless generations of children and families in the Rickmansworth area, continuing to provide them with an exciting and engaging first rate education and all of the life changing opportunities that this brings with it.”

Assistant Director: Education & Skills for Newcastle City Council, Mark Patton said:

“Newcastle City Council are delighted to have another one of its nominated schools accepted as part of the government’s School Rebuilding Programme. 

“This programme provides opportunities for old, out-dated school buildings to be rebuilt using modern methods of construction to create modern and efficient facilities which will serve our communities for years to come.

“The City Council looks forward to working closely with the Department for Education, schools and the local communities they serve on this and other projects over the coming year.”

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