Stat of the Week - Spend per pupil on school building projects

27th February 2009 at 00:00

Until recently, school building had been the Cinderella of the education service for almost a quarter of a century. The curriculum, testing and assessment, market forces and the choice agenda were much closer to the front of policymakers' minds.

Despite the recent report from the National Audit Office that was critical of aspects of the programme to rebuild every secondary school in England, it should be acknowledged that spending on school building has increased sharply since 1997, albeit from a low base during the previous Conservative government.

Then, spending per pupil was only Pounds 130 per pupil (in 2008 prices). By 200910 that figure should be Pounds 1,020. Given that the majority of the spending will be in the secondary sector, this represents a significant investment in our secondary schools. Whether all will be rebuilt by 2020, as is the aim, is a moot point, especially as the planned figure for 2010-11 drops back to Pounds 940 per pupil, partly because there will be more pupils in the primary sector by then.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of a previous Labour government's attempt to replace Victorian primaries; a programme endorsed by Mrs Thatcher when she became education secretary. That programme became a victim of the economic crisis in the Seventies and the Victorian school still forms the basis of our primary system. Because the re-building scheme is secondary focused, it seems many of these primaries might be around to celebrate their second centuries. Whether the new glass-fronted secondaries will be is debatable.

John Howson is a director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now