Since 2010 nearly 735,000 additional school places have been created, however a further 230,000 are needed between 2017 and 2020 to keep pace with a rising school-age population. The new funding will also support the extra classrooms in existing grammar schools, this is separate to the plans of opening new grammar schools.
£1.4bn will be spent on improving 1,500 school buildings at grammars, academies, primaries and secondaries. It will pay to fix roofs, heating and other general repairs to improve the condition of schools. It will not be spent on recruitment or resources such as stationary and text books which many local authorities asked for.
However the National Audit Office recently said that it would cost £6.7bn to get all schools in England into an acceptable state of repair.
Headteachers have argued this will do nothing to improve the ‘black-hole’ in the day-to-day running costs. They have been warning for some time now of having to cut staff, clubs and subjects because of budget shortages. Something that is inevitable after Chancellor Philip Hammond failed to give more cash per pupil to existing schools in his budget.
Russell Hobby leader of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said “This is money that was already allocated to building new places and so it does nothing to help fill the £3bn black hole in day-to-day school spending.”
Education Secretary Justine Greening said:
“Our Plan for Britain is to build a fairer society, with a good school place available for every child. This £2.4 billion investment, together with our proposals to create more good school places, will help ensure every young person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. The £2.4 billion allocated today is part of more than £24 billion the government has committed to investing in the school estate between 2015 to 2021.”
April 4, 2017