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Funding revealed for 30 academies

Construction News has learnt the funding allocations of 30 out of 75 schemes that education secretary Michael Gove put on ice in July.

Construction News has learnt the funding allocations of 30 out of 75 schemes (see table) that education secretary Michael Gove put on ice when he cancelled the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future programme in July.

Since the start of the year, the Department for Education has been telling local authorities and academy sponsors their settlements individually, most of which are lower than the funding they were originally due to receive.

If the settlements are similar across the country, the total funding bill will be around £1bn.

More than half of the 75 schemes scheduled to receive funds are yet to be awarded to a contractor, and the jobs are a mixture of new build and refurbishment work.

There has been no single formula applied to the reductions in allocations. Funding for some projects has been cut nearly in half, while others have received almost all of their original provision. The confirmed allocations have ranged from £6.5 million to £20.7m.

Aylesbury Vale Academy in Buckinghamshire received an allocation of £19.72m for its new build scheme, just 5 per cent less than the £20.8m it had been expecting. Meanwhile, Shireland Collegiate Academy in Sandwell will be expected to find savings of nearly 50 per cent, after it was allocated £7.5m of its original £14m package.

One schools contractor claimed the allocations favoured the academies that fought hardest to retain their funding. He said: “The ones we know about are broadly in line with the savings outlined by the councils and contractors. PfS has not suggested further savings.”

The money, however, represents a major boost for the education sector. In August, Mr Gove approved funding for 44 academy projects, and said the government would work with the teams on 75 further schemes to cut their costs.

One contractor said: “The debate is moving towards how much of the current standards and guidelines can be achieved, but provided there is flexibility, low budget designs can be achieved. There is no doubt that there are deals to be had with contractors chasing workload, but there is concern over how long this can be sustained, particularly when market conditions start to improve in certain locations.”


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