Capital funding boost still leaves more than half of schools originally included in priority schools programme waiting

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The government’s move to make £300m in capital funding available to help make up part of the more than £1bn shortfall in its flagship school building programme has left more than half the schools in the programme waiting for funding.

Last week the Education Funding Agency (EFA) said an extra £300m in direct capital for the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) would fund 27 schools, to be procured in four batches, covering the West Midlands, North-east, East and North-west of England (see box below).

The West Midlands batch will be eight schools worth £39m; North East 2 seven schools worth £63m; East of England 2 six schools worth £60m; and North West 3 six schools worth £48m.

The EFA said it expects the batches to come to market within the next six months.

The £300m is in addition to the £400m in direct capital funding, announced in May 2012, which was made available in order to fast-track eight batches of schools through the programme after the government undertook a review of PFI. The £300m funding brings the total value of the PSBP - including the new £700m private finance element and both the direct capital elements – to £1.4bn so far, short of the £2bn promised when the scheme was launched as a replacement for the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme in July 2011.

The announcement leaves around 146 of the 261 - more than half - of the schools initially included in the PSBP without funding.

The EFA said these schools would be funded through direct capital, rather than private finance, but this would be contingent on the government’s spending review, due to take place next month.

£300m of capital-funded schools

Comprising 27 schools released in four batches:

  • West Midlands (£39m, eight schools)
  • North-east 2 (£63m, seven schools)
  • East of England 2 (£60m, six schools)
  • North-west 3 (£48m, six schools)

The Education Funding Agency said it expects the batches to come to market within the next six months.

These come on top of eight capital batches worth £400m already announced and in procurement.

The EFA said it intends to deliver the remainder of the 261 schools announced in the programme - around 146 - using capital funding, rather than private finance. However, these schools will have to wait until after the June Spending Review to have their funding confirmed.