Details of which schools will benefit from the UK Government’s Priority School Building Programme - the replacement scheme for the scrapped Building Schools for the Future Programme (BSF) - have been released. 261 of the 587 submissions will receive attention with 42 high priority schools starting work in the immediate future using capital grant.
Education Secretary Michael Gove cancelled the £55bn BSF in July 2010 amid mass spending cuts and hundreds of schools across the United Kingdom were forced to make do with inadequate teaching facilities. Last year, Gove launched a smaller £2bn scheme called the Priority School Building Programme which targeted those institutions most in need of repair or regeneration. The programme was massively oversubscribed.
In a statement today, Gove explains: “I know that many schools will be disappointed not to be included in the programme. We have had to take difficult decisions in order to target spending on those schools that are in the worst condition. In order to ensure that the process was robust and fair, a qualified surveyor has visited every school for which an eligible application was received to verify the condition of the building.
“The condition need of some schools is so severe that urgent action is necessary. I have decided to make a limited amount of capital grant available to address the needs of the highest priority schools in the programme.” The first schools to receive attention are due to open in 2014. Funding for the scheme will be stretched as far as possible by keeping the cost of each individual project to a minimum, shortening procurement times and challenging contractors to look for savings in all areas.
A list of the schools selected for the Priority School Building Programme can be found here.