England

At least 40 West Midlands schools bid for repairs funding

Richard Lee Primary School in Coventry
Image caption Richard Lee Primary School in Coventry is one of the 40 schools to have bid for funding

At least 40 West Midlands schools have bid for government funding, totalling about £310m, to repair dilapidated buildings.

Up to £3bn is available to rebuild such properties in England under the Priority School Building Programme.

Successful schools would be tied into the privately-funded scheme for 25 years.

A Department for Education spokesperson said there would be no decision until applications had been "fully assessed".

The government created the Priority School Building Programme after it scrapped the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project set up under Labour.

BBC Sunday Politics West Midlandscontacted all the councils across the West Midlands and, of those that responded, seven authorities indicated schools had been put forward for the government scheme:

  • Sandwell: Fourteen schools at an estimated total cost of £80m. Four were due to have been rebuilt under BSF
  • Staffordshire: Nine schools at an estimated total cost of £69m. Three were due to have been rebuilt under BSF
  • Coventry: Seven schools at an estimated total cost of £62m. Two were due to have been rebuilt under BSF.
  • Walsall: Six schools at an estimated total cost of £60.2m. Three were due to have been rebuilt under BSF
  • Warwickshire: Two schools at an estimated total cost of £20m. Both were due to have been rebuilt under BSF
  • Shropshire: One school at an estimated cost of £13m
  • Worcestershire: One school at an estimated cost of £6m. It was due to have been rebuilt under BSF

Schools had expected to hear if they had been successful last year and delays are proving frustrating for the head teacher of one of the schools bidding for funding.

Nicola Harwood, from Richard Lee Primary School in Coventry, said: "We don't know how much it's going to cost and we don't know timescales.

"There's going to be a lot of schools vying for that money because it seems the only money available at the moment.

"We do need to be in there. We need to be in that pile being picked as the top 100 schools in the worst condition which sounds awful when you're trying to promote good education, high standards of achievement and people progress.

"But we need a good school building as well."

A government spokesperson explained delays had been caused because it was "currently reviewing applications to the Priority School Building Programme, including making some site visits to ensure that there will be a fair and rigorous selection of schools for admission to the programme".

The spokersperson added: "Until applications have been fully assessed, we are not able to announce which schools will be in the programme."

You can watch a report on this story on BBC Sunday Politics West Midlands on BBC One at 12:00 BST on 1 April.

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