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Fund to improve dilapidated school buildings ‘nowhere near enough’, warns teaching union

MORE than £450 million being pumped into improving hundreds of dilapidated school buildings across the country by the government is “nowhere near enough,” a teaching union warned today.

The Department for Education (DfE) said that 859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools will receive a share of a £456m pot to help refurbish and repair buildings.

But the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says that the funding is the “bare minimum” needed to improve the condition of the school estate in England.

More than 1,000 building improvement projects will receive the green light as part of plans to ensure pupils have safe, warm and energy efficient classrooms.

Schools minister Baroness Diana Barran said that the money will ensure schools can “replace roofs, boilers and windows so pupils and teachers can learn and work in a comfortable space.”

Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton said: “This is money allocated through an annual bidding programme to address significant needs in terms of the condition of school and college buildings and is most certainly not an example of government largesse.

“It is the bare minimum and nowhere near enough to meet the cost of remedial work to repair or replace all defective elements in the school estate in England, which at the last count stood at £11.4 billion.

“A recent House of Commons report found that between 2009-10 and 2021-22, DfE capital spending declined by 50 per cent in real terms.”

In December, it was announced 239 school and sixth-form buildings would benefit from renovation projects.

The government says that it has already invested more than £15b in upgrading buildings since 2015.

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