Select Committee on Treasury Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by HM Treasury


What is the programme of capital investment in primary and secondary schools, including the allocation of spending, how many primary and secondary schools will be involved in this programme and progress to date? (Q 425-447)


  The Pre Budget Report 2006 set out capital spending plans that will see overall investment in education, including PFI, rise from £8.3 billion in 2007-08 to £8.6 billion in 2008-09, £9.1 billion in 2009-10 and £10.2 billion by 2010-11. Within this, schools investment will rise from £6.4 billion in 2007-08 to £8.0 billion by 2010-11— supporting a range of strategic (including Building Schools for the Future, Academies and the Primary Capital Programme), targeted and devolved capital programmes.


  The overarching objective driving the Government's strategic capital investment programmes is to ensure that all pupils are able to benefit from 21st century facilities that support learning as it continues to develop in the future.

  This means:

    —  buildings that support personalisation of teaching and learning;

    —  buildings that support extended and community use of schools—with every child and family having access, either onsite or through schools, to year-round, 8 am to 6 pm childcare; parenting support; specialist support services; a good range of after-school activities; and access to ICT, sports and arts facilities after hours;

    —  every school providing first class ICT facilities so that pupils benefit from access to the latest technology and can study in the way that suits them; and

    —  more energy efficient, sustainable schools—with all new schools required to achieve at least a "very good" rating under the Building Research Establishment's environmental assessment method (BREEAM), ensuring high environmental performance. As a minimum, all new schools will achieve a reduction in carbon emissions of 40% compared to standards in place prior to 2002. PBR 2006 announced that the Government will now pilot even higher standards for school buildings, in some cases up to carbon neutrality.

  BSF and the Primary Capital Programme will also contribute to a range of other objectives, including:

    —  responding to demographic change across the country and within authorities;

    —  increasing the diversity of school provision;

    —  ensuring effective delivery of the 14-19 entitlement;

    —  effective integration of the Every Child Matters agenda into schools;

    —  greater support for, and inclusion of, children with Special Educational Needs;

    —  improving sports and recreational facilities and the use of school grounds; and

    —  supporting healthy eating through improved kitchen/dining facilities.

  Each local authority participating in BSF is expected to produce a "Strategy for Change" which outlines how they will meet these objectives. Funding is not approved until Government is satisfied that these visions are sufficiently ambitious and robust.


  There are approximately 3,500 secondary schools in England. The programme to rebuild or refurbish all secondary schools was announced in 2003 and, after consultation, was launched in February 2004. The first wave of investment came on stream in 2005-06. Over £2 billion a year, including PFI, is available for the BSF programme over the Spending Review 2004 period. The programme will be rolled out to all authorities and schools over 15 years of investment, subject to future spending decisions.

  There is a presumption that schools less than 15 years old will not require additional investment through BSF. This means that overall, around 3,100 of the 3,500 secondary schools in England are expected to benefit from BSF. It is anticipated that approximately 50% of construction work carried out through BSF will involve building entirely new schools. A further 35% will involve major refurbishment and a remaining 15% minor refurbishment.

Progress to date

  BSF is being delivered through waves of local authorities. Waves 1 to 3 are now underway—covering 38 local authorities (over a quarter of all local authorities) and about 370 schools. These authorities were prioritised according to social and educational need, meaning that pupils with the greatest need, usually in the most deprived areas of the country, will receive the benefits of this major capital investment first.

  At present, over 20 local authorities have developed their schemes sufficiently to have passed through all necessary approvals and taken their projects to the market. Four projects have reached financial close and construction is underway in three areas. The first all new school is due to open in September 2007 in Bristol.

  Recognising that there have been some delays to the early roll out of the programme, DfES and Partnerships for Schools (PfS) are working closely with authorities to identify and overcome the barriers to faster progress. In particular, they are disseminating lessons learned about the advanced work that authorities can do, and the resources required, to be ready to deliver.

  On 15 December 2006, the Government announced the 15 local authorities participating in wave 4 of BSF, of whom 10 are new to the programme. As well as their social and educational needs, these authorities were prioritised on a thorough appraisal of their capacity to deliver.


  As of 2006, academies will be delivered through the BSF programme—ensuring efficiency gains in procurement. The Government has committed to having 200 academies open or in the pipeline by 2010. At present, there are 46 academies open with an additional 63 having already been approved for development. The Government is therefore on target for reaching this commitment and going further in the longer-term; in November 2006, the Prime Minister expressed an ambition eventually to deliver 400 academies.


  There are approximately 17,500 primary schools in England. The Primary Capital programme, announced in 2005, aims to rebuild or refurbish at least half of all primary schools in 15 years from 2008-09, subject to future spending decisions. The Government has already allocated £150 million in 2008-09 and £500 million in each of 2009-10 and 2010-11 with investment expected to continue at least at this level into the future.

  In November, the 23 authorities which will receive a share of the 2008-09 funding as primary pathfinders were announced. Authorities will be expected to take a strategic approach to the renewal of their primary estate but, unlike BSF, the programme will not be delivered in waves and all local authorities will receive funding from 2009-10.

11 January 2007

12   Ev 38-59 Back

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