The alarm has been raised on a potential crisis facing state schools. A recent BBC report has drawn attention to the looming secondary school space shortage. By 2023 the Local Government Association (LGA) predict that schools in more than half of all councils will be over-subscribed. Local councils, faced with a population surge, have successfully added rooms and capacity to council primary schools to help deliver an extra 600,000 places. However, secondary schools are proving far more problematic. With over two-thirds of schools now academies, affected local authorities no longer have the powers to request that these schools either expand or set up new schools themselves. While councils have a statutory responsibility to ensure there is a school place for every child, the LGA estimate that state schools could be 125,000 places short by 2022.
The Department of Education claim the LGA figures are misleading and that over £5.8 billion of basic need funding has been set aside to deal with the increase in admissions. With over 735,000 additional places already created in state schools since 2010, contingency measures are already in place. Local authorities will have had over 11 years’ notice to prepare for the influx of extra students and funding will have been allocated based on councils own estimates of additional school places needed. The report quotes Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who says: “No-one can really claim that it’s a surprise… The information was there, the planning should have been done.”
Now that most schools in the UK are academies, how can local councils use funding to ensure existing state schools fulfil their statutory rights and provide these extra places?
One solution to the space crisis is the Streetspace ZONE™ glazed extension. ZONE™ is a premium product system that creates valuable enclosed space from under-utilised outdoor areas in a highly competitive package. Many schools have chosen to invest in this type of facility to make available more learning space within their core campus buildings. Dining and breakout space is re-homed within the new ZONE™ glazed building extension providing many of the benefits of a traditional build with significantly greater affordability. An additional consideration is the offset of funding challenges arising from the income for increasing student numbers not being received until the following year, by leasing ZONE™ structures in accordance with school procurement guidelines.
After a funding bid for a £750,000 new dining hall and drama studio was unsuccessful, High School for Girls, Gloucester, sought an alternative solution on a smaller budget. Opting for a ZONE™ glazed building extension that made use of space in front of 2 adjoining traditional build structures, the building has not only resolved the schools’ dining space issues but created a stunning architectural feature with a real wow factor for students and faculty.
If you think our glazed building structures could be the right solution for your space issues please get in contact.