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277 schools to share in £2bn makeover programme

As part of the second phase of the government’s flagship Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), approximately £2bn will be invested in rebuilding or refurbishing buildings at 277 schools across England.

The government has also published details of how more than £4bn will be allocated between 2015 and 2018 to schools, local authorities, academy trusts, and voluntary-aided partnerships to help them improve the condition of schools across the country.

The plans, unveiled by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and education secretary Nicky Morgan, are aimed at giving those responsible for schools more certainty with the funding provided “where it is needed most”.

Since 2011, when the PSBP was introduced, 260 schools have benefited, bringing the total number of schools to receive a revamp to 537.

The DfE noted that, in particular, schools including Whitmore Park Primary in Coventry, Ian Ramsey Secondary School in Stockton, and Garston Manor Special School in Watford are now open following multi-million pound rebuilds.

Across the Yorkshire region, which is home to Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency seat, it has been confirmed that approximately £150m will be spent on revamping 22 schools in the latest round of PSBP funding.

Clegg said: “It is crucial that we invest properly in education, so that every child has a fair start in life. ​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.”

Looking back at phase one of the PSBP, as of 26 January 2015, 16 school buildings are already open, 55 are under construction and the remaining projects are well into the development or planning stages.

In the east Midlands, where Nicky Morgan is MP for Loughborough, a further 16 schools will receive a share of £160m to rebuilt or refurbish their buildings.

She said: “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.

“We’re also making sure, for the first time, that every local area can benefit from more funding certainty, so that local councils, academy trusts and voluntary-aided partnerships can plan ahead and make the right investment decisions that will deliver the best possible value for their schools.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, added that the announcement of extra money for schools is welcome news. 

“Investment in school buildings is vital and needs to be maintained. The government must now ensure that this money will reach the schools that need it most,” he said. 

“Last week’s proposals by the Conservatives to reduce spending per child by around 10% after the general election will cause difficulties, however. Any cuts to education funding will damage the life chances of the next generation of school leavers. Children should not be the ones to pay the price for any political effort to gain control of public finances. 

“NAHT has been urging all the major political parties to commit to protecting funding for education in the next parliament. The new funding for buildings, announced today is welcome but with so little time to go to the election, parents and teachers are still waiting to hear which party has the clearest vision for schools after May.”

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