How To Fund Your Temporary Classroom (When Your School Budget Is Bone Dry)

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The government is acutely aware of the developing shortfall in educational accommodation, particularly in primary schools. Over the next few years many Local Authorities, Academies and Free schools will be obliged to create a significant number of extra places. In this article we aim to signpost the funding streams available to schools in order to address this growing issue.

Your school can access the relevant accommodation funding via the LA (or directly from the Department for Education, for Academy and Free schools). The funding stream option descriptions are to be found within the Capital funding for new school places National Audit Office report:

1. Basic need funding
2. Local Authority Maintenance capital
3. Voluntary Aided Maintenance capital
4. Academies Maintenance Capital
5. Devolved Formula Capital
6. Free Schools capital costs

Basic need funding:

Basic need funding is currently £1,300 million for 2012 to 2013. The Department contributes to local authorities’ costs of providing sufficient places in schools parents want to send their children to.

Local Authority Maintenance capital:

Currently £687 million for 2012 to 13. The Department provides funds to authorities to support the needs of the schools that they maintain; the funds can be used for purposes other than maintenance.

Voluntary Aided maintenance capital:

Voluntary Aided Maintenance Capital is currently £174 million. The Department provides funds to voluntary aided schools to meet their maintenance needs; the funds can be used for purposes other than maintenance.

Academies maintenance capital:

Currently £277 million for 2012 to 2013. Academies bid for funding to undertake condition work that cannot be met from routine maintenance funding, or to fund their expansion if successful and popular.

Devolved capital formula:

This is currently £194 million 2012 to 13. The Department provides funds to schools and academies to be used for any capital purpose relating to school building and assets, including Information and Communication Technology.

Free schools:

This funding is currently £296 million for 2012 to 13.The Department funds the capital costs of setting up Free Schools, which are set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community.

In October 2010, the Secretary of State announced that capital funding should focus on “ensuring that there are enough school places to meet demographic pressures and to address urgent maintenance needs”. The Department allocates Basic Need funding in the form of a capital grant to local authorities specifically for the creation of new school places. The grant is not ring-fenced and authorities are free to use it for any capital purpose.

Modular buildings are now classified as permanent buildings under the October 2010 Part L Building regulations. Schools and Local Authorities should be able to address their accommodation needs through one or more of the funding streams above, and there is no reason why modern well designed modular buildings should not form a valid and valuable part of the national pupil accommodation solution.

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