Which 50 schools are to share £1 billion rebuilding pot?
The Department for Education has unveiled the initial 50 schools to be part of its School Rebuilding Programme, with each to receive a slice of a £1 billion funding pot.
Covering essential repairs and upgrades to school buildings, each institution in phase one is set to receive an average of around £20 million.
The government has the ambition to deliver 500 rebuilding projects over the course of the next decade, although future funding will be detailed in the next spending review.
Work on the first 50 schools is due to get underway from autumn 2021, with the majority of the rebuilding not expected to take longer than three to five years.
According to the Department for Education, the rebuilding programme will “create modern education environments” featuring a host of new facilities such as classrooms, labs and sports halls.
Schools in England did not need to apply for the programme but were instead selected by education secretary Gavin Williamson as being those most in need, with decisions supported by condition improvement data.
More than 70% of the first phase of schools are located in the North and Midlands, while Mr Williamson said that 21 new free schools will also be constructed, which should support more than 15,000 pupils.
“The rebuilding projects are just the start of our major ten-year programme, transforming hundreds of schools and improving the education of tens of thousands of children,” he said.
He added that he does not want to “let the pandemic stand in the way of giving every young person the opportunity to succeed, progress and fulfil their potential”.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), welcomed the announcement, but stress the need to look at the bigger picture.
He pointed to a backlog of repair works highlighted by the National Audit Office in 2017, which suggested that around £6.7 billion would be required to bring every school building up to a satisfactory standard.
The first 50 schools to be selected for the first phase of the School Rebuilding Programme can be found here.
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