Education

26.04.17

PAC: Government spending ‘over the odds’ on creating free schools

Concern has been raised that the government’s system of funding to build new schools and create places is “poor value for money,” the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has today stated.

In the ‘Capital funding for schools’ report, the committee said that the Department for Education (DfE) is paying well over the odds to build 500 free schools whilst the condition of many other existing schools across the country continues to deteriorate.

The cross-party committee of MPs also told the DfE it needed to use its funding “in a more coherent and cost-effective way,” or risk falling short of creating the 420,000 new school places that are required by 2021.

It also issued the latest warning to the government that maintaining the school estate posed a “significant challenge” over the next few years.

A number of measures were recommended by the committee, including the DfE working with local authorities on an individual basis to properly understand local demand for school places.

Another move that the PAC recommended was to use information from the property data survey to develop a robust approach to hold local authorities and academy trusts to account for maintaining their school buildings properly.

The report stated: “Having enough school places in safe, high-quality buildings in the areas where places are needed is a crucial part of an effective education system.

“Without this, parents may have less choice, pupils may have inconvenient journeys to school and the learning environment may be less effective, putting educational outcomes at risk.

“Many school buildings are old and in poor condition, and the condition of the estate is deteriorating. Poorly maintained buildings can affect the quality of children's education, and in extreme cases schools may have to close while buildings are made safe.”

Today’s news follows another warning from the Committee in March that education standards were rapidly declining in the UK – and that the government did not understand the severity of the problem facing the country’s young people.

Before that, the NAO claimed that the state of school buildings in the UK had fallen to a critical level, as it would now cost authorities a huge £6.7bn to improve the estate to being either “satisfactory” or “better condition”.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Mayor James Palmer: A remarkable chance to do things differently

23/10/2017Mayor James Palmer: A remarkable chance to do things differently

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer reflects on his first six months in office, from the successes already achieved to the rema... more >
Five million public sector workers paid less than private sector counterparts

23/10/2017Five million public sector workers paid less than private sector counterparts

In 2016 five million public sector workers were paid less than the equivalent private sector staff, according to figures obtained by the GMB. ... more >
Councils need ‘hard-hitting’ powers to tackle soaring fly-tipping rates

20/10/2017Councils need ‘hard-hitting’ powers to tackle soaring fly-tipping rates

Instances of fly-tipping have reached one million over the past year and the problem is becoming more and more common. Figures released by t... more >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides ... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

Tower Hamlets taking steps to reverse the decline of LGBT+ venues

16/10/2017Tower Hamlets taking steps to reverse the decline of LGBT+ venues

Tower Hamlets council has recently confirmed that the former site of a popular gay bar, the Joiners Arms, must include an LGBT+ club for the next 25 years. Many people will be pleased to note that the council voted unanimously to ensure that any demolition of the building would only be approved if a late-night venue was built to replace i... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Making the devolution revolution work

23/10/2017Making the devolution revolution work

It’s time we take the politics out of devolution to ensure deals are dictated by local need, writes Mike Cherry, national chairman at the F... more >
United we stand, divided we fall

23/10/2017United we stand, divided we fall

David Pearson, Nottinghamshire County Council’s corporate director of adult social care and public health and the sustainability and transf... more >
An opportunity to join two agendas

23/10/2017An opportunity to join two agendas

Ahead of the King’s Fund annual conference in November, Dr Durka Dougall, the organisation’s senior consultant, says the health and c... more >
Support for councils following Grenfell

04/09/2017Support for councils following Grenfell

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), discusses the wider lessons of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and what measures and assess... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Business, tells PSE’s Luana Salles that health and social care orga... more >
HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >

public sector focus

View all News