William Eichler 26 September 2023

Unions call for £4bn investment in school estate

Unions call for £4bn investment in school estate image
Image: Roger Utting / Shutterstock.com.

In response to the RAAC crisis, trade unions have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to invest £4.4bn per year to improve the school estate.

The unions, including ASCL, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, GMB, UNISON, Unite, and Community, and the National Governance Association said the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) scandal has highlighted the ‘crippling underfunding’ of the school estate, which has left many schools ‘unsafe and no longer fit for purpose.’

The letter cites the Department for Education’s (DfE) 2021 study, Condition of School Buildings Survey, which concluded that schools in England face a repair bill of an estimated £11.4bn. It also noted that four years earlier the National Audit Office (NAO) put the bill at £6.7bn.

‘Although the two surveys calculated their estimates slightly differently, there is no doubt that the leap from £6.7bn to £11.4bn – almost twice the original amount – signifies a considerable worsening of the fabric of the school estate in England over just a few years,’ read the letter.

The unions and the National Governance Association, the representative body for school governors and trustees of state-funded schools in England, called on the Government to invest at least an extra £4.4bn annually to upgrade school buildings, bringing the total yearly spend to £7bn.

Responding to the letter, a Department for Education spokesperson said: ‘We have allocated over £15bn to improve the school estate since 2015, including £1.8bn in 2023-24. All schools where RAAC is confirmed will be provided with funding including emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe. The Department will also fund longer term refurbishment or rebuilding projects to rectify the issue in the long term.

‘We have also committed to transforming buildings at 500 schools across the country through over the next decade through the schools rebuilding programme. This is on top of 520 schools already delivered since 2015 under the Priority Schools Building Programme.’

If this article was of interest, then check out our feature, ‘RAAC: what housing associations need to know about the concrete crisis’.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Catering Event Manager

North Yorkshire Council
£29,269 - £32,076
We are a friendly and driven team who put our customers at the heart of everything we do. Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire Council

Planning Manager (Development Control)

East Cambridgeshire District Council
Up to £68,386 p.a. includes permanent Market Supplement of £7000 annually
We’re looking for an individual with the ambition and drive to shape the planning department. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: East Cambridgeshire District Council

Strategic Lead for SEND and Vulnerable Learners

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£90,800 - £101,318
Our vision is for all children and young people in Greenwich to experience a safe, healthy and happy childhood Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Strategic Lead for Adolescent Safeguarding and Family Support

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£90,800 - £101,318
At the Royal Borough of Greenwich, we believe children should enjoy their childhoods. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Administrator

Wakefield Council
£23,500 to £23,893, grade 4
We put our customers at the heart of everything we do and are looking for a new team member to join us in Learner Services. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.