It is the responsibility of those who run schools – academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary aided school bodies – who work with their schools on a day-to-day basis, to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert us if there is a concern with a building. It has always been the case that where the Department is made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, immediate action is taken.
The Department supports schools and colleges by providing significant capital funding each year, organising central rebuilding programmes, and producing extensive guidance on effective and safe estate management.
The Department has allocated over £15 billion since 2015 to improve the condition of the estate, including £1.8 billion committed for the 2023/24 financial year.
Local Authorities, larger multi-academy trusts and larger voluntary aided bodies are eligible to receive an annual School Condition Allocation (SCA) to prioritise improving the condition of their schools. Smaller and standalone academy trusts, small voluntary aided school bodies and sixth form colleges are instead able to bid to the Condition Improvement Fund, an annual bidding round to apply for funding for specific capital projects. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-improvement-fund.
Schools also receive funding to spend on their capital priorities or to contribute to larger projects though an annual Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) allocation. Details of SCA and DFC allocations for the current financial year are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding#funding-allocations-for-the-2022-to-2023-financial-year, and for previous years at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding#funding-allocations-for-the-2022-to-2023-financial-year.
Where the Department is alerted to significant safety issues with a building that cannot be managed within these available resources, support is provided on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, the Department is transforming 500 schools through the School Rebuilding Programme. All publicly funded schools and sixth form colleges in England had the opportunity to be nominated by their responsible body for the programme. A total of 400 schools have been confirmed, with 100 places reserved for later in the programme. We will set out details of further selection in due course. Buildings in the poorest condition and those with evidence of potential safety issues have been prioritised, including some now known to contain RAAC. The Department is committed to the projects that have already been announced as being rebuilt or refurbished through the programme.