The Department for Education has said it will add 50 more projects to its school rebuilding programme this year.
Ministers announced earlier this year the names of 50 schools that will split £1 billion in rebuilding cash. Today, the DfE said it hoped to announce 50 more in the summer.
However, the government has not yet allocated any further funding to the ten-year programme, and it is not known whether future rounds will be as generous.
The DfE has also faced questions about how the first 50 projects were selected, after it was revealed a third of the schools were in marginal parliamentary seats, and two had recently had partial rebuilds.
Today, the DfE said the first 50 schools were chosen either because they had buildings of “specific construction types” that need replacing, or because their buildings had the “highest condition need” based on the condition data collection (CDC) conducted between 2017 and 2019.
For the next 50 projects, the DfE will once again use CDC data “to identify schools where condition need is most highly concentrated and urgent”. Schools will not need to apply or register their interest.
Condition data used to identify school rebuilding projects
By using the data in this way, the DfE hopes to “limit the burden on the sector by only seeking information from those responsible bodies likely to be prioritised for the programme”.
Schools will not be included if the need identified during the CDC process has been “resolved”.
The DfE will contact schools identified for possible prioritisation this month to collect “up-to-date details about the condition of the identified buildings”. Schools will then have around six weeks to complete an online form with information about their current condition, and the DfE will visit sites “in most cases”.
“Being approached by the department does not guarantee that the school or buildings will be included in the programme,” the DfE said today.
The DfE announced in February that it plans to consult this year on how to prioritise projects for the rest of the ten-year programme.
Today, it said there would “also be opportunities after the consultation for responsible bodies to send in details of buildings which they believe should be prioritised in future rounds”.
“This is likely to be according to criteria which mean that the building condition needs more urgent attention.”