Conservative government ‘halved funding for rebuilding schools’
Education / Mon 4th Sep 2023 at 07:23am
JONATHAN Slater, who was the top civil servant at the Department for Education from May 2016 to August 2020, tells the Today programme on the BBC that a survey of schools was carried out about 10 years ago and a second was commissioned in his time. These showed the the scale of the rebuilding programme needed.
According to that, 300 to 400 schools needed to be repaired per year “because of the system the schools were built with was post-war concrete and it was only supposed to live for 30-40 years”.
When they went to the Treasury, they got funding to rebuild 100 schools per year.
“It was frustrating when your priority was safety,” he says.
Slater says the education department saw the benefits of the program but “the challenge was to face the chancellor”.
In 2021, they wanted to be realistic and asked the government to double the 100 schools to 200.
“We know 300 to 400 needed, but the actual ask in 2021 was to double the 100 to 200. I thought we’d get it but the actual decision made in 2021 was to halve down from 100 a year to 50 year,” he adds.
And he reminds the programme that the chancellor then was Rishi Sunak.
For the full report, click below.
An additional issue is the 3,240 schools (15% of total) that did NOT apply for any maintenance or repair funding between 2016-17 and 2022-23 according to the National Audit Office (NAO). It would be interesting to know how many of those schools were academies because they "have significant freedoms and responsibilities that local authorities do not, such as how they distribute funding to their schools"? Non-academy state schools (11,400) are funded and overseen by local authorities, whereas schools part of an academy trust (10,200) receive their funding directly from the Department for Education (DfE) and are independent of the local authorities. Why did the DfE fail to question those 3240 schools that did not apply for maintenance or repair funding over a 6 year period? See pages 4 & 5 of https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/condition-of-school-buildings.pdf
Well, what a surprise. The Tory Party cancelled the previous Labour Government’s school building programme as soon as they came into power in 2010; they did nothing when warned of the problems with the buildings in 2018; then in 2021, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, now the PM, cut the budget for school building repairs in half! Anyone still convinced that the Tory’s take the education and safety of your children seriously??😡
This starts at the bottom, all the way to the top, with government, with Ecc , with councils.. This propping up concerns me...
So where was the money coming from? The magic Labour money tree? What was happening pre-2016? Why did Labour leave a massive rebuilding program in 2010 when they had been in power 13 years. Remember 2010 and Liam Bryne 's "there's no money left". The fact of the matter is RAAC is a massive rebuilding issue for buildings and structures right across the Country, and no Party not the Civil Service comes out of this with much credit. And I haven't even mentioned the ridiculous costs of PFI....well, just did! The fact is that the Public don't want more playground Politics of blame back and forth, they want everyone to work together and get solutions..... But with this lot in the Commons of 600+ incompetents - I won't hold my breath! Mark Gough - Reform UK