Written statement to Parliament

School places

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Secretary of State for Education and Schools Minister David Laws announce capital funding to support the creation of new school places.

Today, my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Schools and I are announcing £1.6 billion of capital funding to support the creation of the new school places needed by September 2018.

Ensuring that every child is able to attend a good or outstanding school in their local area is at the heart of the government’s comprehensive programme of reform of the school system. We know that our growing population means that new school places are needed in many parts of the country and so the government is absolutely committed to providing capital investment to ensure every child has a place at school. We have more than doubled funding for new places to £5 billion in this Parliament. By May 2014, this investment had already helped to create an additional 445,000 school places with more still to come.

Today we are announcing £1.3 billion of funding for local authorities in 2017 to 2018. This is in addition to the £5 billion allocated over 2011 to 2015 and the £2.35 billion already announced for 2015 to 2017. In doing so, we recognise that good investment decisions require certainty. Announcing allocations for 2017 to 2018 today means local authorities will be able to plan effectively and make good strategic investment decisions to ensure they deliver school places for every child who needs one in the coming years.

As well as local authority allocations for 2017 to 2018, we are also announcing how we will allocate the £300 million top-slice held back from our 2015 to 2017 allocations. This funding will be targeted at local authorities experiencing significant and unexpected increases in their pupil numbers over the next few years, with payments starting in the coming financial year so that local authorities can benefit from this funding straight away.

In making these allocations this government is continuing to target funding effectively, based on local needs, using data we have collected from local authorities about the capacity of schools and forecast pupil projections. Later in the spring we will also be publishing updated information on the number of primary places each local authority is creating, as well as their cost and quality. This will help ensure greater accountability and transparency around the places provided and at what cost.

Details of today’s announcement will be sent to local authorities and be published on the GOV.UK website. Copies will be placed in the House Library.