NEARLY £18m is expected to be spent on the most urgent repairs needed by Lancashire’s maintained schools over the next year.

But the cash will not be enough to clear all of the “high priority issues” affecting the non-academy schools for which Lancashire County Council is responsible, the authority’s cabinet was told.

County Hall is expecting a £14m grant from the Department for Education (DfE) as part of the government’s Schools Condition Led Programme for 2024/25.

It is also planning to use around £4m of previous funding it received for school repairs, never spent, to cover design work required for the most complex projects.

The nature of the work needed by some of the schools – and an aim to minimise disruption during term time –  means a number of the planned repairs will not be completed until 2025/26.

The authority says outstanding high-priority problems will be kept under review and considered for any future remediation programmes.

The county council assessed condition data for its maintained schools and officers drew up a 'Priority 1' schedule of repairs – defined as “urgent work that will prevent immediate closure of premises and/or address an immediate high risk to the health and safety of occupants and/or remedy a serious breach of legislation”.

But a report noted the “finite budget” meant it “would not be possible to address all high priority issues in all schools”.

The list of establishments where work is expected to be carried out was kept under wraps by the authority due to 'commercial confidentiality' in relation to the procurement of contractors to undertake it.

County officials say they know from experience of delivering the condition-led programme since it was established in 2011 the “complexities” of assessing existing buildings meant there is a risk further Priority 1 issues may be revealed once works begin.  For that reason, a “significant contingency” fund will be factored into the budget

As in previous years, if a school’s heating system needs wholesale replacement, a low-carbon option will be considered. The report acknowledged there cannot be a one-size-fits all approach to such work in school buildings, because some facilities would require extensive preparation work in order to allow for a greener heating installation.

There is also an allowance for further investigations and specialist surveys to be undertaken on those buildings deemed to be at potential risk because of their age or the way they were constructed.

The exact amount to be allocated to Lancashire County Council from the government will be confirmed at a later date.