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Building Schools for the Future

The Department for Children, Schools and Families announced the Building Schools for the Future Programme (BSF) in 2003. The programme aims to rebuild and/or renew all of England’s 3,500 secondary schools over a 15 year period – creating world-class learning environments which help enable pupils to reach their full potential.

Schools under the BSF programme should facilitate learning in different ways to meet individual needs, with the various stakeholder groups involved collaborating from an early stage to identify the local needs and requirements.

New-look classrooms are being designed with the aim of delivering inspiring environments to engage young people, teachers and the local communities – which it is hoped will be reflected by an increase in attainment levels. BSF will provide improved choice for parents/carers and pupils in their area and increase school diversity.

Well-designed schools can lead to higher engagement, motivation and educational attainment, and encourage innovative ideas for future learning. Investment in new technologies is also helping to develop and support effective learning environments which are stimulating, exciting and inspirational as well as supporting modern teaching and learning methods. Increased attainment can also in part be attributed to an improved sense of pride and ownership by pupils using the facilities.

Teachers and pupils are not the only beneficiaries of the programme. Schools are a significant potential resource for local communities. Facilities such as sports halls, IT resources and libraries can be used by the wider community and can be integrated into wider regeneration projects. The facilities delivered by the BSF programme are being designed for shared community use wherever appropriate – helping to reposition schools as hubs of the community.

As part of the BSF programme, local authorities are expected to set up a Local Education Partnership (LEP), a new concept developed for BSF. An LEP is a public private partnership bringing together the local authority, a private sector partner (PSP) (usually a consortium of private companies including the building contractor) and Building Schools for the Future Investments LLP (BSFI).

Construction materials distributors and builders merchants also have a key role to play in the programme, helping contractors to achieve the time, cost and quality targets set out in the LEP’s key performance indicators. BSF is enabling contractors and their suppliers – which include local builders merchants - across the country to bid for project work which is supported by direct grant Government funding.

Suppliers must help maximise value for money for materials, including standardising products across projects in order to gain economies of scale and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

Products supplied should be fit for purpose. As an example, above ground drainage must offer excellent sound insulation to conform with Part E of the Building Regulations, which relates to sound attenuation in schools. Drainage must meet criteria for sound insulation, reverberation time and indoor ambient noise levels – clearly important in order for teaching and learning to take place without unnecessary noise distractions.

The government has also committed to ensuring all new schools, built within any programme, demonstrate truly sustainable construction and all schools under the BSF programme must achieve a ‘BREEAM Very Good’ (Building Research Establishment’s Energy Assessment Method) rating. Building materials suppliers must therefore also help the school project achieve a sustainable outcome by offering innovative and practical sustainable products and renewable technologies which are available today in commercial quantities.
About Author Rob Stoubos :

As a leading national Builder's Merchant with 200+ branches supplying products and services across the UK we can meet your everyday needs. Whether you require building supplies, timber merchants or landscaping supplies Just give us a call, pop into one of our branches or order online today. Contacts: Alison Murphy Marketing Team Email:

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Article Added on Monday, August 10, 2009
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