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DfE opens bidding for school places cash

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Councils have been asked to submit competitive bids for government money to address the shortage of school places in their area, under a new scheme announced by education secretary Michael Gove.

The scheme, called the ‘targeted basic need’ programme, will ask councils to make the case for extra funds for their area.

It is funded using the £982m budget announced by chancellor George Osborne in last year’s Autumn Statement. Rules about the scheme make it clear that any new schools created under the programme must be academies or free schools, with local authorities deciding between applicants to run the schools.

A statement from Mr Gove said the government’s changes to its system for handing out school funds would mean “some local authorities will see their funding go up, while others will see funding levels go down.”

But David Simmonds (Con), chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said the government was “struggling to get its act together” on funding for school places and school maintenance.

“Delays to already promised school funding means local government is working to address the basic repairs needed to keeps schools open, such as fixing leaky roofs. But we could deliver so much more with funds that are currently tied up in government red tape”, he said.

The LGA has also warned that most of the schools that won funds from the DfE’s priority school building programme had not yet received the money despite being told in May 2012 that they had been successful.

More details of the DfE’s scheme can be found here.

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