Education Secretary Michael Gove has given the go-ahead for 33 local authority ‘sample’ school projects, while 44 academies at an advanced stage in their planning will receive capital.
In last month’s announcement on BSF cuts, all projects past the financial close stage were allowed to proceed, with other schools earlier in the process stopped. A further group of schools and academies required more detailed assessment because they were at crucial points of development.
The sample schools, pilot projects in local authorities who have yet to commence wider building programmes, are BSF projects at an advanced stage which had not yet reached ‘financial close’.
The Department for Education has also been assessing proposals for 119 academies, and has given the green light to 44, but the fate of the remaining 75 will be decided in the autumn's spending review. Sponsors of these academies will be working with the department to reduce costs over the next few months.
The DfE said it has begun working with major companies from the construction industry to help reduce building costs and “provide a genuinely robust, efficient and fair system for future school building projects”.
Michael Gove, Education Secretary, said: “Planning for these projects is well advanced and we are keen they should proceed without further delay. I’m determined that we press ahead with the Academies programme and want all those schools identified as future academies to enjoy the freedoms and benefits academy status brings.
“We will also work with councils, sponsors and the construction industry to ensure we bear down on costs and bureaucracy so every new school is built in as cost-effective and efficient a way as possible, and I am delighted that they have already responded so positively to this challenge.”
John McDonough, Carillion chief executive, said: “The private sector welcomes the opportunity to apply its experience and skills to demonstrate how it can reduce costs and improve value for money in the delivery of public sector building projects in the future, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with the Capital Review Team.”
The DfE said that “the end of the Building Schools for the Future programme does not signal the end of new school buildings” and that BSF accounted for just a third of all the money spent on education capital investments.