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Government announces £820m of school building plans

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The government has revealed plans to build 45 new schools and expand over 300 more with capital funding of £820 million

Schools minister David Laws said 74,000 new pupil places will be created through the targeted basic need programme, launched in March to deal with the shortage of school places.

Across England, 45 new schools will be built under the programme, including seven in Croydon, five in Kent, three in Hillingdon and three in Bristol.

According to the AJ’s sister publication Construction News, further 330 good, or outstanding-rated, schools will be expanded under the £820 million scheme to deliver new pupil places in areas of serious shortage.

Funding for the targeted basic need programme was announced by the chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement last December.

Capital funding will be given directly to local authorities, which will then be responsible for the procurement of contractors and building of schools. However they will have the option of using the EFA’s contractors’ framework, SCAPE, or other regional contractor frameworks.

Laws said: ‘The number of pupils in England will continue to rise and ensuring that every child is able to attend an outstanding or good school in their local area is at the heart of the government’s comprehensive programme of reform of the school system.

‘We will continue to set up free schools where there is both demand from parents and where they can make the biggest difference to local provision through addressing basic need and improving the quality of local schools.’

Laws added that £5bn has now been allocated to local authorities for new school places, which he said is ‘sufficient’ to provide the 417,000 places needed by 2015.

The full list of schools to be built or expanded is available from the Department for Education.

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