Cash pledge to increase school places

Education Secretary Justine Greening.
Education Secretary Justine Greening.

The Government has pledged £68million for North-East schools to improve or expand buildings and create new school places by 2020.

It comes as new figures show that almost 735,000 additional school places have been created nationally since 2010 – 5,000 of them in the North East.

In 2015/16, 90 per cent of new primary places and 87 per cent of new secondary places in the region were created in good or outstanding schools.

The funding, announced by the Education Secretary Justine Greening this week, comprises two allocations.

The first is for local authorities to create new school spaces in 2019/20; £980 is allocated nationally.

This basic need funding for Northumberland for 2019/20 is £1.6million, from a total of £21.6million in the North East. It is a larger allocation than all but four other local-authority areas in the region.

This is higher than the county’s 2017/18 allocation of £428,000, but far lower than the £5.1million for 2018/19. The total from 2011 to 2020 is £15.7million.

From the start of the next academic year, this means an extra 493 basic need places in Northumberland’s schools will be funded; 103 in 2017/18, 299 in 2018/19 and 91 in 2019/20.

The second allocation (£1.4billion) is for local authorities and academy trusts to invest in improving the condition of the school estate.

Northumberland has been allocated a total of £9.7million for its schools – £8.7million for those maintained by the local authority plus £1million for voluntary-aided schools.

In terms of special schools, there is also £9,846 for Nunnykirk Centre of Dyslexia, Morpeth, and £15,947 for Cambian Dilston College in Corbridge.

As part of its Plan for Britain, the Government wants every child to have access to a good school place giving them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future.

Ms Greening said: “Our Plan for Britain is to build a fairer society, with a good school place available for every child.

“This investment of £68million in the North East, together with our proposals to create more good school places, will help ensure every young person in the region has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”