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Councillors agree funding model for new schools

Two of the next new primary schools to be built in Bridgend County Borough will be financed through a Mutual Investment Model, the Welsh Government’s innovative way of investing in public infrastructure.

In total, Bridgend County Borough Council has plans to build four new primary schools and one new special school over the next five to seven years as part of Band B of Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.

Cabinet Members from the local authority have agreed that two of the new schemes will utilise Mutual Investment Models whereby private partners build and then maintain the schools over a 25-year term. In return, the Welsh Government will pay a fee to the private partner, which will cover the cost of construction, maintenance and financing the project. At the end of the contract the school will be transferred into public ownership.

This method will mean that the council will need to provide 19 per cent of the construction and maintenance costs via an annual revenue commitment over the 25-year period. The council will also contribute 35 per cent of the funding needed for furniture and equipment.

The other three new schools will be funded using Council and Welsh Government capital funding.

We previously discussed the matter of how the next wave of new schools will be funded back in December when Cabinet Members agreed an alternative method of funding.

However, last month Welsh Government advised us that the Ministers of Education and Finance had made a change to the intervention rate for Band B Mutual Investment Model schemes. The revised model will benefit from a six per cent increase on the Welsh Government grant intervention rate from 75 per cent to 81 per cent. Since then we have also received our final local government settlement from Welsh Government, which included additional capital funding.

Because of this, we have re-calculated the financial impact of the different funding models for the proposed Band B schemes and are pleased to pursue a mixture of capital grant and Mutual Investment Model schemes.

Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration

Bridgend County Borough Council is planning to build new primary school provision in the north east, south east and west of the county borough, as well as a new 270-place special school which will serve the whole of the county borough.

Councillor Smith added: “We are extremely proud of the schools that have been delivered in recent years and look forward to creating even more first-class learning environments that are fit for the 21st century.

“The locations of the new schools will be based on the increasing demand for places, Welsh language provision, and building conditions. We’ll be announcing further developments soon.”

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