Policy paper

2010 to 2015 government policy: school building and maintenance

Updated 8 May 2015

This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/making-the-construction-and-maintenance-of-school-buildings-more-cost-effective. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

Every child should have a place in a safe and well maintained school. We are making changes to the way we invest and distribute capital funding (money for school buildings and equipment) to make sure that:

  • there are enough school places where they are needed
  • the maintenance and improvement of school buildings is effective and efficient

Actions

To make sure there are enough school places, we are:

  • identifying which areas have a need for more school places through the annual school capacity survey (SCAP)
  • spending over £5 billion between 2011 and 2015 to create new school places
  • investing £3.6 billion of basic need funding between 2015 and 2018 to help local authorities create the new school places they will need by September 2018
  • funding over 70,000 additional school places through the targeted basic need programme

To support the construction, improvement and maintenance of school buildings, we are:

  • opening the first school buildings that were rebuilt or refurbished under the priority school building programme (PSBP)
  • investing an extra £2 billion in rebuilding and refurbishing school buildings in the very worst condition through phase 2 of the priority school building programme (PSBP2)
  • investing £4.2 billion between 2015 and 2018 through school condition funding allocations - this is in addition to the £5.6 billion we invested between 2011 and 2015
  • changing the way we allocate school condition funding so that it reaches the schools that need it the most
  • funding the building and equipment costs of new academies and free schools
  • using the information we collected through the property data survey programme (PDSP) to find better ways of distributing capital funding
  • collecting and publishing information on how the bodies responsible for the maintenance of school buildings (eg local authorities or multi-academy trusts) have used their funding - this will help make these bodies more accountable to local people

Background

We have changed the way we invest and distribute our capital funding to make sure that:

  • funding gets to the areas and schools that need it most
  • the number of school places keeps pace with population growth

Sebastian James’s independent ‘Review of education capital’, published in April 2011, was part of this process. The review aimed to identify how future spending on school buildings and equipment could provide good value for money.

In May 2011, we launched the PSBP to fulfil our commitment to meet the needs of the 261 schools in the most urgent need of repair.

In May 2012, we launched the PDSP, which allowed us to collect up-to-date information on the condition of school buildings across England. This information is helping us allocate funding where it is needed most.

We have also simplified regulations about school premises for all types of schools, providing a shorter, clearer set of rules about the standards to which schools should be built and maintained. We introduced new regulations for local-authority-maintained schools in October 2012, and made the same changes to the regulations for independent schools in January 2013.

In April 2014 we published local authority basic need scorecards. These show the progress each local authority in England has made in providing new primary school places. The scorecards also show local authorities’ plans to meet demand for new school places by September 2015, along with details of the quality and cost of new places created to date.

In March 2015, we published a review of our policy on management of asbestos in schools. The review sets out how we plan to support those responsible for managing asbestos in schools so we can make sure all school buildings are safe.

Who we’ve consulted

We included the recommendations in Sebastian James’s report in the formal consultation ‘Implementation of the 2010 to 2011 review of education capital’. It ran from 19 July to 11 October 2011.

In the consultation ‘Revised school premises regulations’ we sought views on proposals to revise and simplify the regulations about school premises. The consultation ran from 3 November 2011 to 26 January 2012. We received 175 responses.

In the call for evidence ‘Policy review: asbestos management in schools’ we sought opinions and ideas on how we can better support the people involved in the day-to-day management of asbestos in schools. The call for evidence ran from 31 January to 31 March 2014. We received 51 responses.

Impact

There is limited evidence about how the premises regulations affect groups with the protected characteristics of age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, or race. Of these, we consider that the group most likely to be affected by changes to the regulations are those with disabilities.

We will make sure there are regulations about acoustics, lighting, medical accommodation, toilet and washing facilities and water supplies in place. This will ensure people with disabilities are not affected more than anyone else.

There is more information in the equality impact assessment on premises regulations, published on 31 October 2011.

Bills and legislation

The changes we have introduced to the law affecting school buildings are set out in the School Premises (England) Regulations 2012.

Appendix 1: targeted basic need programme

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

We launched the targeted basic need programme in March 2013 to provide additional funding for school places in areas where they are most needed.

We invited local authorities to bid for funding to establish new schools or expand existing schools with a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

On 18 July 2013 we announced the projects which the programme would support. We are providing around £800 million to fund over 70,000 additional high-quality school places in areas that face the greatest demand for places.

In December 2013 we announced details of the new academies being built under the targeted basic need programme.

The first places created through targeted basic need became available in September 2014. The remainder will be become available from September 2015.

Appendix 2: school condition funding

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

School condition funding is the money we allocate each year to improve and maintain the school estate (buildings and grounds).

We distribute this funding in 3 separate allocations:

  • devolved formula capital (DFC) allocations – this is direct funding for individual schools
  • school condition allocations – this is funding for organisations responsible for large numbers of schools, such as local authorities and large multi-academy trusts
  • condition improvement fund (CIF) allocations – this is funding for smaller multi-academy trusts, single academy trusts and sixth-form colleges

From the financial year 2015 to 2016 we are changing the way we calculate the school condition allocations. This is to make sure the bodies responsible for school buildings (eg local authorities or multi-academy trusts) get a fair share of funding according to their needs.

We will use the information we have collected through the property data survey programme to do this.

In February 2015 we announced:

  • school condition allocations for 2015 to 2016
  • DFC for 2015 to 2016
  • indicative school condition allocations for 2016 to 2018

These capital funding allocations are available.

Appendix 3: property data survey programme (PDSP)

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

We established the property data survey programme (PDSP) following Sebastian James’s independent review into spending on school buildings and equipment in July 2010.

The programme consisted of a series of surveys of educational establishments in England, including all local-authority-maintained schools.

These surveys have given us detailed information on the condition of the country’s entire schools estate (buildings and grounds). This information will allow us to allocate funding where it is most needed.

The survey work took place between May 2012 and July 2014. The information we collected from these surveys has helped us to:

  • calculate school condition funding allocations
  • determine which schools will have one or more of their buildings rebuilt or refurbished as part of the second phase of the priority school building programme (PSBP2)

More information on PDSP, including detail on the results of the programme and the methodology behind the surveys, is available.

Appendix 4: priority school building programme (PSBP)

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Phase 1

In August 2011, we invited schools in need of urgent repair to apply for the first phase of the priority school building programme (PSBP).

In May 2012, we confirmed that 261 schools would be rebuilt (or completely refurbished) through PSBP. The first schools rebuilt as part of PSBP opened in May 2014.

More information about PSBP, including details of the progress we have made so far, is available.

Phase 2 (PSBP 2)

In May 2014 we announced plans for a second phase of the PSBP (PSBP2). This second phase concentrates on the individual school buildings (or blocks) in the worst condition, so it will not always rebuild or refurbish entire schools. We will invest a total of £2 billion in the programme.

In February 2015 we confirmed that 277 schools would have at least one of their buildings (or blocks) rebuilt or refurbished through PSBP2.

More information on PSBP2, including details of the schools that are part of the scheme, is available.

Appendix 5: basic need funding

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Basic need funding is the money we give local authorities each year to help them fulfil their duty to make sure there are enough school places for children in their local area.

We allocate basic need funding 3 years ahead, giving local authorities enough time to plan and create the new places.

We use data from the annual school capacity survey (SCAP) to make sure we allocate funding to the areas where more school places are needed.

In February 2015 we announced basic need allocations for the financial year 2017 to 2018. This funding will help local authorities create the places they will need by September 2018.