The UK government has upped its maintenance and repair pot for schools by 20% to almost £1.8 billion, as part of its ‘build back better’ growth plans post-pandemic.
The funding will be open to all schools in England to help keep their buildings in the best possible condition.
Schools Minister Baroness Berridge said the increase in the annual allocation is part of an effort to ensure “every school has the investment and financial support it needs to build back better for its students.”.
The pot is separate to the School Rebuilding Programme, announced in June 2020, which will see major rebuilding and refurbishment of school and sixth form college buildings. So far 100 schools have been earmarked to be part of the programme.
Baroness Berridge acknowledged that teachers and heads were spending “every hour of the working day thinking about how they can make sure the students at their schools recover from the impact of the pandemic”. Improving the condition of school buildings will help with this effort, she suggested.
Local authorities, larger multi-academy trusts and Voluntary Aided school bodies have been allocated condition funding in accordance with the latest data on their estates.
Meanwhile, smaller academy trusts and sixth form colleges were invited to submit bids to the department for funding through the Condition Improvement Fund process.
In addition, all schools have been allocated individual funding in accordance with their size.
Commenting on the maintenance and repair funding, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said that the need to repair the school estate has been clear for some time and that the pandemic has only served to exacerbate the necessity.
“The need is even more urgent now if we are to provide learning spaces that have safe ventilation and are environmentally sustainable,” he added.