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British Council for School Environments to close

The British Council for School Environments has announced it will close after admitting the economic climate meant it was struggling to raise money to stay afloat.

Former BCSE chief executive Nusrat Faizullah stepped down in November and was replaced in an interim capacity by Dr Sharon Wright.

The board of trustees held a meeting in December to discuss its finances and options for the future and has decided it will close with immediate effect.

BCSE chair Rachel Jones said: “Like many charities, we have been struggling for some time to raise enough money to keep the organisation going. This is partly due, of course, to the impact of the loss of capital funding in the education arena over the last two years. Despite our best efforts, it’s clear that the myriad of challenges we’re facing means we cannot continue to operate.

“We are agreed we cannot, in good faith, ask for further resources when the economic climate is so precarious. The trustees have regretfully decided, therefore, that the organisation should close immediately. We do so with a heavy heart and much sadness – there is still much to be done to ensure all our teachers, children and communities get the learning environments they want and need.”

The organisation is believed to have been particularly affected by the axing of the former £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme.

In May, former chief executive Ms Faizullah wrote for CN and described the need for the government and the industry to “rise to the challenge of learning from the mistakes of BSF”.

She said: “We’re facing a leaner, tougher, faster environment. Both the government and the industry need to rise to the challenge of learning from the mistakes of BSF. Bureaucratic procurement, PFI funding problems and no robust post-occupancy evaluation were all part of the problem.

“My biggest anxiety is that we repeat the same mistakes but keep hoping for different results. We need government policies and procedures which play to the strengths of the construction industry and ensure we build sustainable schools that meet the needs for the children of today and for generations to come.”

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