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Impact of squeezed council education budgets

As the Department for Education takes a fresh look at the system for new school funding and new places in existing schools, already squeezed council budgets look set to come under a new round of scrutiny.

How school buildings are funded

With a stated priority to creating 500 more free schools by 2020, it’s not a great leap to wonder how some of the Department of Education £4.5 billion capital funding allocation might be distributed. To compensate, there are smaller programmes to fund state school buildings. A small selection of these include the Selective School Expansion Fund of £50 million, if schools can show how they will increase access for disadvantaged pupils; the Priority Schools Buildings Programme, aiming to address schools in the worst condition; and the Condition Improvement Fund targeting academies and sixth-form colleges who can use the funds to make a space better or build a newer, eco-building. The Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF) of £100 million comes about from funds derived from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy and can be accessed by those wishing to improve facilities for pupils’ activity and mental health facilities for wellbeing, medical, kitchens, canteens, changing rooms, playgrounds and sports fields.

How squeezed council budgets affect the building of new schools

Government policies aside, council education budgets are mainly affected by real-term cuts of up to 12% over the last five years. With most of the school estate over 40 years old and 60% built before 1976, many need a serious upgrade. Current capital funding levels would need to double to meet the cost of refurbishing, with many buildings nearing the end of their useful lifetimes. At the moment, without additional funding, most councils can’t afford to build a new school estate, so opt to improve the schools they have or add buildings.[1]

Help available to fund school buildings

Where a school has decided to opt for part-funding with the CIF or HPCF (or is going for the fully funded option), demonstrating good value for money is essential to securing funding success. This is where we can help.

The school buildings we build are more often than not, faster and more cost effective than traditional methods, but also deliver zero emissions. This means the buildings often end up being more than efficient, sending back to the grid excess electricity generated. One of our recent school customers only needs to source 32% of their whole school electricity supply since working with us. We’ve got experience with the CIF application process and will assist you with funding and leasing options, providing bid design prices and working with your bid consultant.

Why choose us for your school buildings?

One main reason clients choose to work with us is our commitment to transforming the speed, cost and energy performance of buildings. New, greener schools mean leaving a smaller carbon footprint wherever we go. Students, teachers, headteachers and parents enjoy beautiful new spaces and enjoy a certain ‘feel good’ factor. Contributing to the reduction in fossil fuel consumption for the planet and easing the strain on their school’s operations budgets. Every building counts.

 

To meet the upcoming December CIF funding deadline for schools, please get in touch to discuss how you can join over 70 schools designed and built by us across the UK.

[1] House of Commons: 57th Capital funding for schools report, 2016-2017; http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/pdfs/2017-pac-captial-funding.pdf