Written statement to Parliament

Targeted capital funding for new school places

David Laws, the Minister of State for Schools, announces the outcome of applications to the Targeted Basic Need programme.

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

Classroom chairs

Today I am announcing the outcome of the applications to the Targeted Basic Need programme. The programme was launched in March this year to provide additional funding for school places in areas where they are most needed. Local authorities were invited to bid for funding for new schools, or to expand existing outstanding and good schools.

The Targeted Basic Need funding brings the total amount of funding allocated to local authorities for new school places over the current spending review period to over £5 billion - more than double the £1.9 billion spent by the previous government over an equivalent period. That funding is sufficient to provide the 417,000 places we need by 2015. By September this year, we expect 190,000 extra places will have been created during this parliament, with more still in the pipeline.

Our main basic need allocations - which go directly to local authorities, and are based on projections of their need - were issued in March, and gave authorities funding for the next 2 years, enabling them to plan provision. Those allocations totalled some £1.6 billion and will support local authorities to keep pace with projections of demand.

On top of this, we invited applications from local authorities for additional new places, particularly focused on places in outstanding or good schools, and on creating new academies sponsored by organisations with a good track record in educational success. We are determined that every pupil should not just have a place, but that the growth in the system is, as far as possible, concentrated in schools that parents and pupils really want to go to. So I am delighted to announce that the Targeted Basic Need programme will provide £820 million to fund an additional 74,000 high-quality school places on top of those already created and funded - all in areas that face the greatest pressure on places. These new places will be in 45 new schools and in 333 expanding schools that are rated as outstanding or good.

The number of pupils in England will continue to rise and ensuring that every child is able to attend an outstanding or good school in their local area is at the heart of the government’s comprehensive programme of reform of the school system.

We will continue to set up free schools where there is both demand from parents and where they can make the biggest difference to local provision through addressing basic need and improving the quality of local schools.

Over the longer term, we will also fund a further 500,000 places up to 2020 to 2021, as announced in the recent spending round - again, we judge that this will be sufficient to meet the projected demand for school places.

I will write today to all those MPs with successful projects in their constituencies. A list of successful projects has been placed in the House library today.

Published 18 July 2013