Major review of Building Schools for the Future

Education Secretary Michael Gove today set out a complete overhaul of capital investment in England’s schools.

Bringing an end to Building Schools for the Future (BSF), he said ‘In the light of the public finances, it would have been irresponsible to carry on regardless with an inflexible, and needlessly complex programme.’

The key elements of today’s announcement to Parliament are:

  • 706 schools will be opened under new arrangements being agreed today, of which nearly 386 schools are projected to be new build; 262 to be remodelled or refurbished; 26 to be ICT-only. The building programme in 32 further schools is yet to be confirmed.
  • 715 schools will no longer be rebuilt or refurbished through BSF of which nearly 180 schools are projected to be new build, over 319 to be remodelled or refurbished and 63 to be ICT-only. The building programme in 153 schools has not yet been confirmed.
  • That 123 academy projects in development which have not reached financial close will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • That in 14 cases, prioritised locally as ’sample’ projects – the first taken forward in the area – will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in recognition of local need. Although financial close has not been reached, very significant work has been undertaken to the point of appointing a preferred bidder at ‘close of dialogue’.
  • That the Government is launching a comprehensive Review of all capital investment in schools, early years, colleges and sixth forms. Led by Sebastian James, Group Operations Director of DSG international plc, the Review team includes Kevin Grace, Tesco – Director of Property Services, Barry Quirk, Chief Executive of Lewisham, John Hood former Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford and Sir John Egan, former Chief Executive of Jaguar and BAA.
  • The review will guide future spending decisions over the next Spending Review period (2011-12 to 2014-15). It will look at how best to meet parental demand; make current design and procurement cost-effective and efficient; and overhaul how capital is allocated and targeted.
  • That the department is reducing its End Year Flexibility (EYF) requirements by £1bn to help ensure no additional borrowing this year. This is in line with the Government’s plan to reduce the deficit, and the Treasury’s announcement today that Departments have agreed to address unrealistic inherited spending commitments for 2010-11, where funding was reliant on underspends through the (EYF) system or additional funding from the Government’s Reserve. The Department expects to be able to manage most of this through better financial management and tighter controls. Because of the size of the reduction, however, the Department will have to make £169.5m savings from capital budgets where commitments are no longer affordable.

The Secretary of State also announced that he will be ending funding for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) design advice service associated with the BSF programme