The Welsh Government has announced that a further £2.3bn of funding will be made available to modernise the country’s education infrastructure.
This was announced by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams last Friday who said that the money will allow the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education Programme, a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme, to continue for the second wave of investment.
Band A of the programme will conclude in 2019 after a £1.4bn spend over the previous 5 years.
This new second wave of investment, Band B, will be made up of two funding streams; one using traditional capital and one using revenue funding via a new form of Public Private Partnership called the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).
Local authorities and further education institutions have proposed £2.3bn worth of projects which meet the investment objectives of Band B of the programme.
These include addressing growth in demand for Welsh medium education; reductions of surplus capacity and inefficiency in the system; expansion of schools and colleges in areas of increased demand; address condition of educational assets; and making assets available for community use where demand exists.
The Welsh Government has committed to supporting all of the above projects, subject to the approval of business cases.
Speaking at the opening of Ysgol Cybi, a new 540-place Welsh-medium primary school in Holyhead delivered by £9.7m of Band A funding, Kirsty Williams said:
“I am committed to raising standards, reducing the attainment gap and delivering an education system from the ground up that is a source of national pride and confidence.
“The 21st Century Schools and Education Programme is one of the means to achieve this ambition and represents the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s.
“The first wave of funding provided through the programme will see an investment of more than £1.4bn over the 5 year period ending 2019, supporting the rebuild and refurbishment of more than 150 schools and colleges across the Wales.
“This is why I am delighted to announce the second wave of investment for the programme, which will begin in April 2019.
“We will work closely with our partners to agree on the pace of delivery and put in place investment plans that are affordable and meet our shared ambition to create sustainable learning environments that meet the needs of our communities.”
Announcements on individual Band B projects will be made in conjunction with local authorities over the coming months.