James Review of Schools Capital was finally published this month.This document lays out problems with – and learning from – previous school capital projects, particularly the Building Schools for the Future scheme (BSF). It goes on to make recommendations to government about new ways forward. The Centre for School Design have provided a good digest here.Headlines of the report recommendations include:
- The focus of any new scheme should be the creation of ‘fit-for-purpose’ schools. Refurbishment and new build will be determined by local need for school places and by condition of existing school buildings.
- A single set of standardised designs should be created as a template for all new school buildings.
- School designs should not be bespoke for each individual project, and should not include the consultative approach (including teachers, students and communities) that previous projects such as BSF have used.
- Any new school capital scheme should focus entirely on building and maintenance and should not aim to ‘transform education’.
- Money for schools capital should be held centrally, but decisions on how it is spent should be taken by ‘Local Responsible Bodies’, led by local authorities. These bodies will produce a ‘light-touch’ local plan for new buildings and refurbishment.