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

Sales of social housing increase 10% on last year as Right to Buy takes hold

24/11/2017Sales of social housing increase 10% on last year as Right to Buy takes hold

The government has released figures showing that 13,400 social housing properties were sold last year under Right to Buy, an increase of 10% on 2... more >
Authorities given powers to recoup 80% of temporary accommodation spending in £70m UC reform

24/11/2017Authorities given powers to recoup 80% of temporary accommodation spending in £70m UC reform

Councils will be able to claim back over 80% of the money they spend on temporary accommodation after the government announced new reforms to the... more >
Living standards set to fall for longest period yet , think tank says

24/11/2017Living standards set to fall for longest period yet , think tank says

Britain is heading for the longest period of falling living standards since records began, the Resolution Foundation has warned this week. In it... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... 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

City-centric, deeply disappointing and a nightmare – criticisms pile against the Budget

22/11/2017City-centric, deeply disappointing and a nightmare – criticisms pile against the Budget

It’s been a busy day in the PSE office. Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget included a number of interesting announcements, ranging from new devolution deals and housing measures to changes to business rates. This year’s Statement was described well by Lord Bob Kerslake, who said it had been a “mixed bag” for hous... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Driving forward a healthier Scotland

10/11/2017Driving forward a healthier Scotland

Dundee City Council is leading the way in boosting electric vehicle (EV) uptake in Scotland, writes Rebecca Wallace from the local authority&rsqu... more >
A smarter approach to digital transformation

10/11/2017A smarter approach to digital transformation

Catherine Bright, Smarter Digital Services (SDS) manager, explains how a partnership of 12 councils across Kent and Surrey are jointly funding a ... more >
Delivering on estates

10/11/2017Delivering on estates

Sam Ulyatt, strategic category commercial director at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), on how a new framework can help public sector organisat... more >
Open for business

10/11/2017Open for business

Clare Moore, senior specialist of valuation and disposals at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), explains how public sector bodies looking to... 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