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Regional capital spending plans for schools revealed

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The government is to allocate £1.6 billion of basic need capital funding over the next two years as part of a £4 billion drive to create new school places and carry out maintenance and repair work

Total capital spending is also broken down by regions, for example with Newcastle-upon-Tyne set to receive more than £4.6 million in basic need funding over 2013/14 and 2014/15, while Manchester will receive more than £40 million and Croydon in London will receive more than £60 million, reported sister title Construction News.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the autumn statement that the government would provide additional investment of £982 million for schools in England over the remainder of this parliament.

The education secretary announced today that the government has launched the Targeted Basic Need Programme with the funding for ‘the provision of new, high quality school places in the areas that need it most’.

The programme will deliver new academies and free schools, as well as enabling investment to expand existing good and outstanding schools.

Local authorities will be able to bid for funding to increase the number of high quality school places available in areas with the most acute levels of need.  All new schools will open as academies or free schools and successful local authorities will be required to run a competitive process in order to select the best provider.

Gove said: ‘Until now, we have not had detailed information about the specific areas within local authorities where the demand for school places is expected to increase. This meant that we could not target funding in the most effective way possible to meet pockets of demand within local authorities.

‘Over the past 12 months, we have worked with local authorities to ensure that funding is distributed more fairly across the country. Local authorities told us that funding should be allocated based solely on projected shortfalls between the places available and the places required within the smaller planning areas that they use when assessing the need for new school places.’

However Wates head of education Stephen Beechey said a crucial priority was to provide clarity on the private finance element of the Priority School Building Programme to allow procurement to start.

Wates head of education Stephen Beechey:

‘The Priority Schools Building Programme is finally moving forward after several delays, with the winning bidders on the first two batches of schools announced earlier this year. This should provide several thousand more school places in key areas over the next eighteen months.

‘However, the industry has been waiting since the start of 2012 for the Department for Education to make an announcement on the model which will be used to deliver the 219 schools earmarked for procurement under the private finance element of the PSBP – the vast majority of the 261 schools set for work under the Programme.

‘We can see from today’s figures that over 4,000 primary and secondary schools across the country are already over-subscribed, and the situation is only going to get worse with pupil numbers set to increase over the next few years. It is therefore crucial to receive a final decision on the private finance element of PSBP as soon as possible to allow the procurement process to start.’

Capital funding highlights:

  • £1.6 billion of basic need funding for 2013-15 to local authorities to provide additional school places where needed in their area;
  • £595 million of maintenance capital for 2013-14 to local authorities to support the needs of the schools that they maintain and for the Sure Start children’s centres in their area;
  • £392 million of maintenance capital for academies for 2013-14;
  • £154 million of locally-coordinated VA programme capital for 2013-14 to support the maintenance capital needs of voluntary-aided schools;
  • £200 million of devolved formula capital for schools;
  • a total of £65 million for sixth-form college maintenance and devolved formula capital funding for 2013-14, and £80 million basic need funding for 16 to 19 demographic pressures for 2013-15; and
  • a total of £15 million funding for Independent Specialist Providers for 2013-15.
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