HC Deb 15 November 2001 vol 374 c856W
Vera Baird

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of devolving financing of school buildings on head teachers' ability to carry out their core educational work. [13251]

Mr. Timms

School buildings that are well maintained and are suitable for delivering the curriculum are a key element supporting improvement in educational standards in schools. In January this year the Department published findings from an initial evaluation study, which supported this view.

Since school buildings are key to raising standards, we believe that head teachers and their governing bodies should be able to play a decisive role in the management of their school buildings. To help schools do this, consistent delegation of all revenue funded repairs to school buildings was introduced for all schools from April 1999, and each school has been allocated a devolved capital budget since April 2000. Most capital funding. for major work to repair, improve or expand school buildings is still managed by local authorities. But we believe giving schools their own capital budgets as well means that decisions about smaller works are improved, since they are taken by those who best know where their impact can increase standards. They also enable schools to influence local authority decisions about major capital investment.