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Government pledges £6bn to improving school buildings

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The government has promised £6 billion to improve school buildings across England

The announcement included the second phase of the Priority School Building Programme which will see an additional £2 billion spent on rebuilding and refurbishing schools in England.

This second phase will see a further 277 schools either rebuilt or refurbished in addition to the 260 already tackled by the funding scheme, taking the total number of schools benefitting from the programme to 537.

In a statement the government said: ‘Thanks to the Priority School Building Programme, school buildings are being rebuilt faster and cheaper than those built under the previous school building initiative – Building Schools for the Future (BSF). Under the BSF it took 3 years for construction work to begin. This was slashed to 1 year for the Priority School Building Programme, with projects costing around a third less.’

The funding for this second phase was initially announced in May 2014, when it received a cautious welcome from the profession (AJ 01.05.14).

The new wave of cash is being funded by the taxpayer rather than the PF2, private finance initiative, which was used to pay for the first batch of school repairs (AJ 24.05.12).

A further £4 billion will also be handed out to schools and local authorities between 2015 and 2018 to improve the condition of existing schools.

Announcing details of the funding investment, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: ‘Thousands of pupils will benefit from better, brighter, warmer classrooms thanks to this ​funding.

‘Children can’t learn and teachers can’t teach in schools that are cold and have leaking roofs.’

Education secretary Nicky Morgan, added: ‘As part of our long term economic plan, we have continued to invest in school buildings which will ensure we can deliver even more great new schools, transform the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers whilst delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

‘This major funding announcement comes on top of the £18 billion already invested in school buildings over the course of this parliament.’

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