Schools will receive about £6 billion to repair or rebuild crumbling buildings, ministers announced today.
Some £2 billion of that sum is being allocated to repairing or rebuilding 277 schools in the second phase of the government's Priority School Building Programme, which replaced the axed Building Schools for the Future scheme. Funding has already gone to improving facilities in 260 schools, bringing the total number helped so far to 537.
Details are also being released of how another £4 billion will be distributed between 2015 and 2018 to schools, local authorities, academy trusts and voluntary-aided partnerships for building upgrades.
A report issued last summer by the Royal Institute of British Architects suggested that some £8.5 billion was needed to bring the school estate up to scratch, adding that about three-quarters of schools were still affected by asbestos.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "Children can't learn and teachers can't teach in schools that are cold and have leaking roofs. To create a stronger economy we have to invest in a fairer society so that our young people can be successful in the future."
Education secretary Nicky Morgan said the longer-term funding announcement would allow people to "plan ahead and make the right investment decisions that will deliver the best possible value for their schools".
"This announcement is a major step towards ensuring that all children, no matter what their background and no matter where they live, have access to the best possible schools and learn in an environment that gives them the knowledge and skills to succeed in the global race," she said.
In response, the Association of School and College Leaders said it was essential to repair schools to avoid teaching students in "cold, damp buildings".
Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the ASCL, said: “It is clear that the top priorities must be to ensure that there are sufficient school places for all young people, and to replace or refurbish those buildings that are currently unfit for purpose.”
'Crumbling' schools need £8.5bn of repairs, architects warn - 2 July 2014
£6 million in 'unplanned spending' to go on school buildings survey - 29 January 2014