Schools delay building repairs due to funding pressures

Research by Tes and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) have found that 70 per cent of schools are not 'fit for purpose'.

The survey of the 221 state-school heads in England showed that 88 per cent say funding pressures have forced them to cut routine building maintenance.

The research found that leaks were a problem for 74 per cent of schools, asbestos was an issue for 68 per cent, and lack of space was cited as causing problems for 66 per cent.

Other repair issues causing schools a problem included crumbling walls (59 per cent), faulty boilers/heaters (57 per cent), electrical problems (43 per cent), reliance on mobile classrooms (43 per cent) and damp (39 per cent).     
Nearly half (46 per cent) of the heads with buildings not fit for purpose had had to close part of their school in the last year.

Less than one per cent of all heads surveyed had enough capital funding to carry out all work needed and 78 per cent did not even have enough capital funding to carry out all essential work  
The survey showed that other problems included windows and doors in need of replacement; insufficient sports facilities and poor condition of playing fields and playgrounds; poor ventilation in classrooms and corridors; classrooms too hot or having excessive temperature swings; poor dining facilities and poor condition of toilets.
Mr Barton has now called on the government to launch a major new capital programme to address the situation.

ASCL's general secretary Geoff Barton said the survey’s findings revealed a “state of national decay in our school buildings”.

"What does it say about us as a country that with the sixth largest economy in the world, 78 per cent of our members say they do not have enough to carry out the essential repair works in their schools?" he said

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We are investing £23 billion in the school estate between 2016 and 2021 to deliver new school places, maintain and improve school buildings, as well as rebuild and refurbish buildings in the worst condition through our Priority School Building Programme.

"This funding supports our priority of ensuring there are sufficient school places and that the school estate is safe and enables a high-quality education.

“We have also begun a new school Condition Data Collection, which will provide updated data on the school estate and allow us to better understand where funding is needed most.”

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