Loans to Build New Schools Alongside New Homes in England

The Developer Loans for Schools Pilot has been launched to boost momentum among housing developers wishing to simultaneously build new schools alongside new homes in England. The initiative is providing government loans to medium and large building companies to deliver thousands of school places up front, so they are ready for communities before new properties are finished.

The aim is to meet a rising demand for more places at good schools, and help families get on the property ladder. The scheme will incentivise developers to build more properties in the areas most in need – including on sites that have stood empty for a long period of time.

Operating from 2019 to 2021, the pilot programme will award around ten loans of up to £20 million per school. The loans must be used to construct a new school on the developer’s land for occupation by a free school trust. The schools can be primary, secondary or all-through schools, where the Department for Education (DfE) and local authority agree there is a need.

Loans will be standalone to fund the delivery of just a school. In some cases, DfE can explore the development’s overall infrastructure needs with Homes England.

Launching the programme, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said:

“We want to offer parents across the country a good choice of local schools for their children that suits their talents and needs, and we’re already on track to create one million new school places nationwide this decade.

“But we know that in some cases, building schools and properties at the same time so they are ready for new communities can be challenging for housing developers.

“That’s why we are launching these loans, to help parents secure a good school place for their child at the same time as moving into a new family home.”

Developers interested in taking part in the pilot programme are now invited to express their interest by submitting project proposals to the DfE.

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