Thursday, November 11, 1999 Published at 05:08 GMT
Blunkett gives heads cash for repairs
David Blunkett is to announce £50m to replace temporary classrooms
Schools in England are being given greater independence over spending on repairs and improving buildings.
The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, has said that a £200m fund will be passed directly to headteachers for commissioning repairs to crumbling classrooms and for modernising facilities.
He said: "We are giving schools something most have never had before - the chance to make decisions about the upkeep and improvement of their buildings.
"I have every confidence that heads, who are best placed to spot the most needy repairs, will spend this extra funding wisely."
Mr Blunkett also detailed how the extra funding for education announced by the chancellor in his pre-budget report on Tuesday is to be spent.
There is £50m for replacing temporary classrooms in 500 schools.
£5.5bn to modernise school buildings
Another £100m for modernising schools will be in the form of credits for local education authorities' private finance initiative schemes.
In his speech to the House of Commons, Gordon Brown promised that five million pupils in 15,000 schools would have benefited from the government's plans for modernising schools by 2002.
The chancellor's £100m for PFI credits is in addition to the £5.4bn already announced by the government for school modernisation.
This covers such projects as repairing classrooms, fixing leaking roofs, installing central heating and upgrading playgrounds.
The Department for Education says this large-scale spending is necessary to catch up on the "backlog of repairs" that had built up across the country under the previous government.
Mr Blunkett was speaking on a visit to Melcombe Primary School in Fulham, west London, where £630,000 is being spent on mending a leaking roof and draughty windows.
"This money will help us in our efforts to wipe out the worst of the backlog of repair and maintenance work left by two decades of neglect," he said.