The Government has promised £1billion funding for 50 new school building projects, together with more than half a billion pounds for urgent repairs.
Announcing the school rebuilding programme, Boris Johnson said: This major new investment will make sure our schools and colleges are fit for the future, with better facilities and brand new buildings.”
However, teaching unions claim the money being set aside is insufficient to deal with the true scale of the problem, pointing to National Audit Office figures which have identified £6.7billion worth of repairs are needed across England’s 21,000 schools.
The 50 school building projects will be identified later in the year, with construction expected to begin in September 2021.
An additional £560million is being set aside to fund urgent upgrades and repairs to schools for the next academic year.
A budget of £200million for further education colleges, which has already been announced by the Government, will now be brought forward under the latest plans.
Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, also applauded the decision but warned that the infrastructure of schools must “never be allowed to fall into such a perilous state again”.
The Department for Education has confirmed that the funding announced by the Prime Minister is part of a wider investment in schools – including £650million for Covid-19 catch-up funding, as well as £350million for a tutoring service to help the most disadvantaged pupils.
Ministers also point to the Government’s commitment to increase school spending by £7.1billion by 2022-23.
BJ Chong, a Partner with Palmers, said: “The announcement represents an encouraging step forward for schools who will now be waiting to see whether their much needed building projects will be included in the first tranche of construction work.
“With any significant project of this kind it is important to ensure that the correct legal procedures have been carried out to ensure its smooth delivery.
“At Palmers, we are able to provide advice on outsourcing, procurement and contracts with external suppliers. We can also advise on managing outsourced services, contracts with suppliers and procurement terms and conditions.”
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