Sustainable Schools: Are We Building Schools for the Future?
HC 140-I, Seventh Report of Session 2006-07 – Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes
- House of Commons – Education and Skills Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Under the 'Building Schools for the Future' (BSF) programme the Government is seeking to rebuild or refurbish all secondary schools in England over a 15-year period at a cost of £45 billion, with local authorities participating in a series of 15 'waves'. The Committee's report examines the progress being made on the programme and makes recommendations about the ways in which the process might be improved, focusing on three key areas: the planning and procurement process; whether the objective of educational transformation is really at the heart of the process; and whether the issue of sustainability has been adequately defined and has a sufficiently high profile.
'Sustainable Schools: Are We Building Schools for the Future? (HC 140-I)' acknowledges that this is an immensely ambitious programme, given its aim is not only to improve school buildings and provide investment in information and communication technology (ICT) facilities but also to transform the educational experience of pupils and to embed sustainability. Not since the huge Victorian and post-war building waves has there been investment in the school capital stock on this scale and there is no project like it anywhere else in the world. Delays in the project against its original timetable are of less significant risk to its success than inadequate early planning at a local level. It is vital that local authorities who have encountered delays are able to develop plans that are robust and achievable and that the lessons are learned from the experiences of earlier 'waves' of the programme in order to avoid repetition of the same delays and difficulties.
The Committee accepts that it is the viability of a project as it is developed that is the main risk factor in a BSF project, but notes that there are risks associated with Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as a funding method. It calls on the Government to clarify its assessment of the sustainability of the levels of revenue commitments across local authorities in general and the lessons that it has learned from those PFI funded schools that have been forced to close.
The accompanying 'Sustainable Schools: Are We Building Schools for the Future? – Volume II: Oral and Written Evidence (HC 140-II)' (ISBN 0215035968) is available to buy separately, see below.
|Format||Paperback||Published||09 Aug 2007|
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