Schools: Durham

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what resources his Department provides to Durham County Council for (a) the extension and modernisation of dilapidated school buildings and (b) the construction of new schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department’s priorities for investment in the school estate are to ensure there are enough school places, and that the school estate is safe.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated £6 billion in condition funding to those responsible for maintaining school buildings across the country. As part of this, Durham local authority receives an annual school condition allocation to invest in maintenance priorities across its maintained schools – in 2018-19 they received £5.4 million. Maintained schools in Durham also received their own capital allocations, totalling £3.5 million in 2018-19. This includes their allocation from the additional £400 million of capital funding, announced at Budget 2018. These figures do not include academies and voluntary aided schools, which receive separate funding.

The Department provides basic need funding to support the provision of school places so that local authorities can fulfil their statutory responsibility to secure sufficient provision. Durham received £13.3 million to provide new school places from 2011-18 and has been allocated a further £6.5 million from 2018-21. This funding is not ringfenced, so local authorities can decide how best to spend that money to deliver their responsibilities. It can be used to work with any school in their local area, including academies and free schools.

Durham has also been allocated £2.2 million from the special provision capital fund, from 2018-21, helping to create new places and improve facilities for pupils special educational needs and disabilities. As in the case of basic need funding, it is not ringfenced and can be used as local authorities see fit to improve special provision in their local areas.

This funding for new school places and condition sits alongside our investment in central free schools and the Priority School Building Programme. The Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing buildings in the worst condition at over 500 schools across England, including eight schools in Durham County council’s area.

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