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New buildings a ‘major priority’ for school leaders

Almost 70 per cent of school leaders want to invest in new buildings or carry out significant capital works projects over the next 12 months, a survey has revealed.

Investing in the school estate was a major priority for 42 per cent of school leaders and a further 26 per cent said it would be a minor priority, according to the survey by law firm Browne Jacobson.

Browne Jacobson education partner Nick Mackenzie told Construction News every school had individual needs with some more concerned about maintenance and remodelling to make them fit for purpose, while others would prioritise extensions to increase capacity.

He added: “The pressure on schools to manage their estate comes across strongly as one of the top priorities for the year ahead for school leaders.

“This is likely to continue to be a challenge with pressure on school budgets, oversubscribed bidding rounds for capital funding and tight restrictions on borrowing.”

New buildings a major priority for:

Maintained schools

  • 39% primary schools
  • 46% secondary schools

Academies

  • 53% primary schools
  • 36% secondary schools


However, over half of schools surveyed said they were either less optimistic or significantly less optimistic about their financial prospects than they were six months ago.

Over 60 per cent of maintained schools were concerned about funding, compared with 50 per cent of academies, which bid from a separate pot of capital funding managed by the Education Funding Agency.

As a result, 80 per cent of respondents said cutting costs would be either a major or a minor priority for their schools over the next 12 months.

Browne Jacobson said 223 school leaders took part in the survey between 30 September and 14 October 2013.

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