Schools: Repairs and Maintenance

Department for Education written question – answered at on 21 March 2024.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to make an assessment of the appropriateness of allocating maintenance funding directly to smaller responsible bodies.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Minister of State (Education)

The department has allocated over £15 billion since 2015 for keeping schools safe and operational, including £1.8 billion in the 2023/24 financial year. This is informed by consistent data on the condition of the school estate. The department also provide extensive guidance on effective management of school buildings, including through Good Estates Management for Schools.

Local authorities, larger multi-academy trusts (MATs) and larger voluntary-aided (VA) school bodies receive an annual school condition allocation (SCA) to invest in priorities across the schools for which they are responsible. Smaller academy trusts and single academy trusts, smaller VA bodies and sixth-form colleges are instead able to bid into the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

To be eligible to receive direct SCA for the 2023/24 financial year, MATs and VA bodies must have met two principal criteria. The MAT or VA body must have had 5 or more open schools at the start of September 2022, and those open schools (or their predecessor schools) must have had at least 3,000 pupils counted in the spring 2022 census, or the 2021 to 2022 individualised learner record.

School level allocations for both SCA and CIF eligible schools are calculated using the same formula, to ensure parity. Whilst the allocations for schools in SCA eligible responsible bodies are totalled to form a direct allocation for the responsible body, the allocations for CIF eligible schools and sixth form colleges are combined to form the CIF fund, into which they can bid. This is to ensure that schools and sixth form colleges in smaller responsible bodies, which are CIF eligible, have the opportunity to access sufficient funding to complete projects to improve condition.

Were CIF eligible responsible bodies given direct allocations, they would, in most cases, attract substantially less funding than SCA eligible responsible bodies, as the allocation formula is based on pupil numbers. As a result, direct allocations might not be sufficient for these responsible bodies to complete the projects they require, which is why they are instead given access to CIF.

The department keeps the methodology for allocating condition funding under review.

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