Countdown to Reservations End Date
This conference will bring together key stakeholders with policymakers to examine the priorities for England’s school buildings.
It comes with the announcement by the Prime Minister of ten-year school rebuilding programme worth £1bn which will:
• target schools in greatest need of repair
• include investment in schools in the North of England and the Midlands
• focus on rebuilds being greener and using modern construction methods.
The agenda will bring out latest thinking on developments and key issues including:
• rollout and delivery - including land acquisition, free schools, and ensuring that schools are built in the areas of greatest need
• the rebuilding programme - how the new funding should be spent, with further information about the scheme and the projects expected in the autumn Spending Review
• improving the design and construction process for new schools - including the design of learning spaces, and ensuring that refurbished schools are sustainable and meet long term needs
• return to school for the new term - with Government recently publishing measures that will need to be put in place by schools - discussion on:
◦ the way schools are adapting - the new pressures caused by the pandemic and what it means for the future
◦ safety and hygiene for pupils and staff - implementation of class and year group-sized bubbles, and encouraging older pupils to social distance where possible
◦ creating space - how schools are managing the pressure of social distancing, through for example using shared local facilities
◦ adapting processes - looking at steps such as reduced use of shared items, and staggered lunchtimes and breaks
◦ varied approaches in different settings - looking at factors such as urban and rural locations, the age of school buildings, access to technology, outdoor space and school site sizes
◦ cost - the implications of adapting buildings in the short and longer term
◦ pupil experience - mitigating the impact of adaptation measures on the learning environment, and on attainment
◦ learning from change - opportunities for schools to improve the design of buildings and spaces are used - and how the potential role of technology will change.
Developments that are relevant to the discussion:
• school repairs and upgrades - announcement by the Government of a further £560m in funding the 2020-2021 academic year
• the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme - including plans to retrofit schools with low-carbon heating technology
• the Priority School Building Programme - now in its second phase (PSBP2) - with a commitment for 277 schools to be refurbished by 2022 through capital grants
• Modern Methods of Construction - successful applications to work on the DfE’s £3bn programme to support use of MMC, with an aim of delivering 30 offsite schools a year for the next four years
• the free school programme - government continuing to support the delivery of the initiative.
The discussion in detail:
• The impact of COVID-19 - on school buildings and adapting to social distancing:
◦ modernising existing buildings - adapting older parts of the estate to changes resulting from the pandemic
◦ assessing the opportunities - the potential impact of necessary changes on improving how schools use learning space and edtech
• School building programmes - the PSBP and the new ten-year school building programme, which is expected to allocate a larger amount per project than under the PSBP:
◦ impact - the first phase of the PSBP and the lessons that can be learned and applied to PSBP2, which is expected to be completed in 2022
◦ targeting investment - towards areas of greatest need for new and improved buildings, with government indicating an increased focus on the North of England and the Midlands
◦ value for money - how it can be ensured, particularly when new funding is allocated
◦ engaging with contractors - addressing issues with attracting interest from the construction and other sectors in supporting the programme
◦ sustainability - concerns around the lack of renewable energy sources used in the rebuilding of facilities, with Government promising greener buildings
• Design and safety of learning spaces and school buildings:
◦ new architectural approaches - how they can be used to support improved learning experiences within the classroom
◦ technology - enabling the delivery of buildings with up-to-date technology equipment
◦ older school buildings - ensuring new health and safety standards and regulations are met, particularly following concerns around the use of cladding on buildings
◦ accessibility - priorities for ensuring suitability of schools for all pupils, including those with SEND
• Modern Methods of Construction (MMC):
◦ the ambition - the Department’s £3bn programme to support the use of MMC, with an aim of delivering 30 offsite schools a year for the next four years
◦ potential impact - prospects for the programme setting new standards for the building and development of schools
◦ transferability - how new methods of construction can be applied to other projects
• Free schools - as the Government continues to support the development of the programme in delivering new schools:
◦ rollout - next steps in the delivery of new free schools
◦ positive impact - what will be needed from free schools within the school system
• Building new schools - including practicalities:
◦ acquisition and use of land - and the progress of LocatEd in supporting this process
◦ serving local needs - how to ensure new schools provide facilities to support their communities and that they are meeting environmental standards.
• Policy priorities for school buildings
• Rolling out new school buildings:
◦ Best practice in acquisition and use of land for schools
◦ How does the environment affect learning?
◦ Next steps for increasing the number of free schools across England
• Delivering school buildings that serve long term need in local communities - siting decisions, use of new funding, and meeting environmental standards
• Use of MMC in school buildings and meeting modern demands - upgrading current facilities, regulations and standards, and accessibility and safety
• The future design of learning spaces in the context of COVID-19 and adapting to social distancing in schools - modernising old builds, improving classroom design and creating opportunities to utilise edtech.
Policy officials attending:
These forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons Library, and officials from the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions.
This is a full-scale conference taking place online:
• full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
• information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
• conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
• speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
• opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
• a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
• delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
• networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact.
Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference.