County council approves £47m schools investment
LANCASHIRE County Council’s Cabinet has approved a report which sets out priorities for spending £47m on the county's school buildings over the next three years.
The schools capital grant allocation comes from the Department for Education to enable the county council to provide the right number of school places across the county and ensure its schools are in good condition.
The £47m investment will be spent on the following priorities:
• Supporting growth in pupil places.
• Targeted investment in mainstream and special schools.
• Strategic maintenance of the building stock.
County Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “This investment is wonderful news for children and young people in Lancashire. It means that we can provide the right number of school places across the county, that popular schools can expand to meet demand and that we can keep our schools in good condition.
“We are fortunate to have excellent schools in our county, providing a first-rate education, and this investment will help us to build on our current success.”
As in previous years, it is anticipated that the majority of the capital allocation will need to be used to provide additional primary school places, though in the forthcoming period, additional secondary school places will also be needed.
Targeted investment is intended for special schools, mainstream and short-stay provision with an emphasis on additional provision.
The capital investment will primarily be spent on the following areas:
• Provision of additional mainstream primary and secondary school places, including increasing planned admission numbers at primary schools in areas of high future demand to make them compatible with the requirement to have no more than 30 pupils in infant classes.
• Targeted investment on identified projects in special and alternative provision schools, including the provision of additional places and addressing serious suitability and condition issues.
• Projects in community schools to improve access for pupils with disabilities in and around the school buildings.
• Targeted investment to replace time-limited temporary buildings with permanent buildings, where their deteriorating condition could jeopardise the school's ability to maintain current numbers on roll in an area of increasing demand.
• Condition-led projects that address serious condition issues at community, voluntary controlled and foundation schools.