Guidance for LEAs and schools anticipating

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Guidance for LEAs and schools anticipating

  1. 1. Guidance for LEAs and schools anticipating Building Schools for the Future investment This short guide addresses the question of what, if any, capital investment should be made in secondary schools in advance of Building Schools for the Future, which aims to rebuild or renew all secondary facilities over 10 to 15 years from 2005. We welcome your comments on the guide. Please send them to Andy Hudson: schools.capital@dfes.gsi.gov.uk, tel.: 020 7925 5142. 10 principles for sound investment 1. Ensure that any building work taking place before investment under Building Schools for the Future complements the wider, long-term plans for the school. 2. Where there is no long-term buildings plan for a school, ensure that new facilities are sited in locations that would not impair future work. 3. Use the exemplar designs and building bulletins for guidance and inspiration when planning building projects before and during Building Schools for the Future. 4. Ensure that current pupils and those about to join the school are not disadvantaged by any delays to essential building work before Building Schools for the Future. 5. Continue to meet legal requirements (e.g. health and safety and disability access regulations) in the years before Building Schools for the Future. 6. Proceed with agreed projects where they can be financed from other sources rather than wait for Building Schools for the Future to start locally. 7. Make local judgements on whether smaller, short-term suitability improvements represent value-for-money. 8. Seek approval from the school organisation committee where there are any changes or delays to work requiring statutory proposals. 9. Consider whether a proposed sale of assets might impact on Building Schools for the Future aims. 10. Consider the effect that completed Building Schools for the Future projects may have on local pupil movements, including in neighbouring LEAs.
  2. 2. Context The aim of Building Schools for the Future is to ensure that secondary education in every part of England has facilities of 21st-century standard within 10 to 15 years from 2005-06. Given the longer-term scope of Building Schools for the Future, some LEAs and schools may want to change some of their current capital investment or asset management plans. We are therefore offering this guidance to help LEAs and schools avoid: a) a situation where the prospect of future Building Schools for the Future funding delays or cancels plans that could be achieved now with existing resources. This could also result in LEAs and schools underspending on capital allocations. b) capital being invested now, where the best economic case might be to wait for a larger-scale project under Building Schools for the Future. Decisions on investing formulaic and devolved capital support are at the discretion of LEAs and schools. Dioceses also have a role in advising Voluntary Aided schools on investment, asset management planning and strategic planning decisions. Often these decisions will require a sensitive local judgement in the best interests of current and future pupils. Since each local situation will be different, there can be no firm guidance on investment in the years before Building Schools for the Future projects begin, other than to ensure schools comply with their statutory responsibilities. This guidance is therefore a checklist to help LEAs and schools recognise some key factors in their decision-making. Full details of the capital funding programmes available to LEAs and schools are available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/captypes
  3. 3. 10 principles for sound investment 1. Ensure that any building work taking place before investment under Building Schools for the Future complements the wider, long-term plans for the school. New buildings or facilities should contribute to the long-term plans for the school, including what would be built under Building Schools for the Future. Abortive expenditure should be avoided. Building Schools for the Future plans should avoid replacement of recently built suitable and sound buildings. When considering infrastructure investment in, for example, ICT equipment or specialist equipment to improve access for disabled students, LEAs and schools should seek to ensure that, wherever possible, this equipment can be transferred to any new buildings and that it would be suitable for a 21st-century school. 2. Where there is no long-term buildings plan for a school, ensure that new facilities are sited in locations that would not impair future work. Where schools are prioritised for later waves of Building Schools for the Future, investment in the meantime may still be needed. If a detailed building plan for the school does not yet exist, careful consideration should be given to the siting of any new facilities on the site, to ensure that they can form part of a long-term development plan for the school site and can readily be incorporated into any future plans for Building Schools for the Future. We appreciate that schools on confined sites may not have the same flexibilities to achieve this. 3. Use the exemplar designs and building bulletins for guidance and inspiration when planning building projects before and during Building Schools for the Future. In February 2004, we published exemplar designs for school buildings. These will serve as examples of how schools can reach 21st-century standards and, along with many other examples of inspiring school design, can create a benchmark for design quality and cost. LEAs and schools can minimise the risk of potential planning and design problems by ensuring that projects built before Building Schools for the Future meet the standards of the exemplar designs and our building bulletins, as well as ensuring that projects can be incorporated into the longer-term plans under Building Schools for the Future. www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/resourcesfinanceandbuilding/scho olbuildings/designguidance/
  4. 4. 4. Ensure that current pupils and those about to join the school are not disadvantaged by any delays to essential building work before Building Schools for the Future. LEAs and schools may be faced with a difficult choice of whether or not to invest in a school improvement project which will be ultimately replaced under Building Schools for the Future. As outlined above, we would strongly encourage LEAs and schools to take steps to avoid replacing buildings after a short period. However, on occasion, short- term improvements will be necessary. There is of course a need to ensure that current pupils and those about to join the school are not disadvantaged due to lack of essential investment before Building Schools for the Future starts. LEAs and schools will need to make judgements on balancing present and future needs, and we would encourage close collaboration between schools, LEAs, architects and private sector partners in identifying solutions. 5. Continue to meet legal requirements (e.g. health and safety and disability access regulations) in the years before Building Schools for the Future. Schools must, as a priority, continue to meet always their legal requirements (e.g. health and safety and fire precautions legislation, and the provisions of the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1991). All schools and LEAs also have a legal duty under the Disability Discrimination Act to plan improved access for disabled pupils in a strategic way over time through the preparation of accessibility plans and strategies respectively. Schools and LEAs must continue to review and develop their plans/strategies so that disabled pupils who are currently attending school or are due to join a school are not disadvantaged. LEAs, dioceses and schools should also be mindful of the anticipated increase in standards under the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, which will affect both new and existing buildings. Full details on standards for school premises, access for disabled pupils and energy performance can be found via the following links: www.teachernet.gov.uk/docbank/index.cfm?id=3928 www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/sen/schools/accessibility/dda/ www.defra.gov.uk/environment/energy/internat/ecbuildings.htm#Involve 6. Proceed with agreed projects where they can be financed from other sources rather than wait for Building Schools for the Future to start locally. Where a school has been approved funding for a project, for example under the private finance initiative, targeted capital fund or New Opportunities Fund, or where its needs have been
  5. 5. prioritised for a share of LEA formulaic funding, LEAs and schools should proceed with these projects rather than delay them in anticipation of future investment under Building Schools for the Future. However, they must ensure that these projects complement Building Schools for the Future work and would not be replaced after a short period. Where we agree to provide support under Building Schools for the Future to schools that are already subject to private finance initiative or other facilities management contracts, this may produce issues surrounding the procurement of the new building work and maintenance agreements. In such cases, there will be no general solutions and the Department and Partnerships for Schools will work with the LEA and the schools to ensure that any such arrangements proceed as smoothly as possible. 7. Make local judgements on whether smaller, short-term suitability improvements represent value-for-money. It is important for schools to strive to be suitable, welcoming and accessible locations preceding investment under Building Schools for the Future. It is therefore entirely appropriate for reasonable investments to be made in schools to meet suitability needs or for condition improvements and to avoid decay and neglect. (Routine maintenance such as repainting is not of course, a capital investment but a recurrent cost.) Suitability or condition shortcomings, including those which impact on staff and student morale, should be identified in asset management assessments. It would be for the LEA and school, with advice from the diocese in cases affecting Voluntary Aided schools, to make a balanced judgement on short-term improvements that may be replaced under Building Schools for the Future within a few years. 8. Seek approval from the schools organisation committee where there are any changes or delays to work requiring statutory proposals. It is important that where capital work requires statutory proposals (e.g. prescribed alterations to school premises), LEAs ensure that published notices accurately reflect their intentions. Should LEAs subsequently decide on a different course of action or if there are any in implementing their proposals they must inform the schools organisation committee and seek the necessary approvals for any changes. If it appears no longer appropriate to implement approved statutory proposals, LEAs will need to publish proposals to be relieved of the duty to implement. www.dfes.gov.uk/schoolorg/decision-makers-guidance.cfm
  6. 6. 9. Consider whether a proposed sale of assets might impact on Building Schools for the Future aims. The strategic vision of Building Schools for the Future may give LEAs and schools an opportunity to develop plans for the sale of assets to release funds for capital investments. Another effect is that local planning authorities may also have to alter conditions placed on property developers under section 106 agreements (for example to build new school facilities in areas of new housing). It is important for LEAs to bear in mind additional school funding routes when developing Building Schools for the Future plans, and where possible to ensure that there is sufficient co-ordination and flexibility to avoid unnecessary planning, sale of assets or other expenditure. www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/resourcesfinanceandbuilding/scho olslandandproperty/saleofassets/ 10. Consider the effect that completed Building Schools for the Future projects may have on local pupil movements, including in neighbouring LEAs. Under Building Schools for the Future, we will be rebuilding and renewing secondary schools over a 10- to 15-year period. Since this is a long-term approach, there will be cases in which schools in one area of an LEA will be modernised, but those in a neighbouring area or a neighbouring LEA will have to wait for their phase of rebuilding. LEAs may wish to consider, through their admissions forums, whether there will be any effect on the pattern of admissions as a result of Building Schools for the Future, and plan accordingly. http://www.dfes.gov.uk/sacode/index.shtml

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