Government support for capital investment in schools has risen to £4.9 billion this year, will be £5.5 billion next year, £5.8 billion in 2006–07 and will reach £6.3 billion by 2007–08. All schools and local authorities will benefit from this programme, which includes flexibility for local authorities and schools to prioritise expenditure on the areas they consider most important, including playgrounds.
The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) is providing around £81 million, through the New Opportunities for Physical Education and Sport programme, towards playground improvements in England. This includes playground markings, improvements to drainage and refurbishing existing facilities. We are also working with the BLF to ensure that these facilities will fully complement the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. This programme aims to renew the secondary school estate (including playgrounds) in 15 waves starting from 2005–06. Schools, local authorities and their partners are encouraged to look as widely as possible at all educational needs, both inside and outside the classroom.
Furthermore, the Sporting Playgrounds programme is supporting £10 million of capital investment between April 2003 and March 2005. This will enhance around 600 primary school playgrounds to increase physical/sporting activities and improve behaviour.
For the past three years the Department has also provided £250,000 a year to Learning through Landscape, which has encouraged schools to improve and develop their grounds for curriculum-related use.