At last we may have some good news on funding to rebuild the many local school buildings that are in a desperate state. The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, made this announcement a couple of hours ago (relevant extract is below) saying up to £2 billion of funding may be available.
The Building Schools for the Future programme was too complex, cumbersome and expensive but the scrapping of it was a terrible blow for the schools that were near the end of the process for being rebuilt, especially Alfreton Grange, Alfreton Park, Swanwick Hall and Swanick Schools and Sports College. In addition other schools were in that process, notably Aldercar Language College.
A year of lobbying ministers to find an alternative funding structure now seems to have had some success and I will be doing all I can sto support all the local schools in making bids for this money. I’ve seen the buildings, I know how much they need rebuilding.
I did raise the issue of the local schools with Mr Gove in parliament today – I’l post the link tomorrow.
“I am also aware that many of our existing school buildings across the country are in desperate need of repair.
I am grateful to honourable members from all parties who have shown me and my ministerial colleagues schools in their constituencies which need investment. The energy and skill with which so many colleagues have lobbied underlines how effectively so many honourable members represent the most needy in their constituencies.
We have already made available £1.4 billion this year to deal with maintenance problems.
Overall, we are spending more on school buildings every year of this Parliament than the last Government spent in every year of its first two Parliaments.
But I want to do more. Which is why today I am launching a new privately-financed school building programme to address the schools in the worst condition wherever they are in the country.
This programme will be open to local authorities and schools that had been due funding via Building Schools for the Future but, critically, it will also be open to those, who despite real problems, had never been promised BSF funding.
I believe strongly that those in genuine need should receive the funding they deserve, and no part of the country should be favoured over any other.
Individual schools, Academies and local authorities will all be able to apply and I am launching the application process today.
The scheme will be rigorously policed to ensure we do not incur the excessive costs incurred by previous privately financed schemes. The programme should cover between 100 and 300 schools with the first of these open in September 2014 and is expected to be worth around £2 billion in up front construction costs.”