Building Schools for the Future (BSF) was the name given to the British government's investment programme in secondary school buildings in England in the 2000s. The programme was ambitious in its costs, timescales and objectives, with politicians from all English political parties supportive of the principle but questioning the wisdom and cost effectiveness of the scheme. The delivery of the programme was overseen by Partnerships for Schools (PfS), a non-departmental public body formed through a joint venture between the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) (formerly the Department for Education and Skills), Partnerships UK and private sector partners. Fourteen local education authorities were asked to take part in the first wave of the Building Schools for the Future programme for the fiscal year 2005/6. By December 2009, 96 local authorities had joined the programme.
In 2007 the programme was complemented by the announcement of a Primary Capital Programme, with £1.9 billion to spend on 675 building projects for primary schools in England over three years.
On 5 July 2010 the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, announced that following a review, which was informed by an impartial analysis from Robin F. Paynter Bryant, an experienced City banker, the Building Schools for the Future programme was to be scrapped. Projects which had not achieved the status of 'financial close' would not proceed, meaning that 715 school revamps already signed up to the scheme would not go ahead. He also announced that a further 123 academy schemes were to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The BSF programme had historically been dogged by sporadic or no management at the top, with Richard Bowker (Chair and Chief Executive of the Strategic Rail Authority) leaving his post just eight months into the role. However, Bowker was replaced in November 2006 by Tim Byles, who joined from Norfolk County Council, where he had been CEO for 10 years.
Initially all Local Authorities (LAs) had been placed in a national programme consisting of 15 waves. The programme did not proceed as rapidly as had been expected and both the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Partnerships for Schools (PfS) began looking closely at the authorities' capacity and readiness to deliver projects. During the Spring of 2008 the DCSF consulted on the management of future waves of BSF and subsequently invited all LAs to submit an Expression of Interest to joint the BSF programme sooner than the original programme might have indicated. The announcement of the new programme arrangements was made on 2 March 2009 and at subsequent briefings to Local Authorities it was made clear by PfS that demonstrable "readiness to deliver" was to be a key condition for future pledges of funding.
A tranche of forty authorities were invited to make a "Readiness to Deliver" submission by 8 May 2009. Of those that did, only Hampshire, Barnet, Bolton, Peterborough, Wigan and Sunderland were successful. In early August 2009 the authorities that had been unsuccessful, as well as those who had delayed making a submission, were advised that all submissions for the remaining twelve places to be allocated during the financial year ending on 31 March 2010 were to be made by 17 September 2009. On 30 November 2009 it was announced that eleven local authorities – Brent, Darlington, Devon, Havering, Kingston, Croydon, Norfolk, Plymouth, Sefton, Wakefield, and Warrington – would be joining the BSF programme for the first time, with another two – Lancashire and Tameside – starting the next phase of their BSF schemes. This brought to 96 the number of local authorities in England which were active in BSF.
The revised management arrangements for BSF apparently reinforced the DCSF's faith in PfS, as the Minister for Schools announced in June 2009 that PfS was to assume responsibility for the management and delivery of all school building and refurbishment programmes. Day-to-day responsibility of all schools' capital programmes, including the Primary Capital Programme, transferred from the DCSF to PfS on 1 October 2009.
In 2009 the National Audit Office noted management issues regarding problems in meeting targets, overuse of expensive consultants, and high staff costs (the Chief Executive and top four directors received about £750,000 pa in total).
Primary schools were initially not included in BSF, although in March 2006 it was announced that a parallel programme – the Primary Capital Programme (PCP) – would be starting for primary schools and schools for primary-age special needs pupils. Rather than allocating money by authority in waves, it was intended that there will be regional pilot schemes in 2008, leading to a broader approach whereby all authorities could apply for funding from 2009. Funding to Local Authorities would only be confirmed once they had submitted and gained approval for their 'Strategy for Change' (SfC) describing how they would address the PCP priorities.
Thus 23 Local Authorities (LAs) initially had access to £6.5 million each to refurbish a primary school, before widening access to an overall budget of £1.9 billion, with an initial expectation of starting 675 primary school building projects over the following three years. In November 2008, 41 additional LAs had their Strategies for Change accepted (green status) and thus their PCP funding for 2009/10 and 2010/11 approved. 92 LAs were invited to submit further information (amber status) and only had their 2009/10 funding approved, and 15 LAs (red status) were required to address specific issues in their Strategy before any funding was approved.
The BSF programme involved the decentralisation of funds to local education partnerships (LEPs) to build and improve secondary school buildings. However, the LEPs were not only responsible for the construction of the buildings but also for co-ordinating and overseeing the educational transformation and community regeneration that the investment can support. The private sector LEP partner(s) were intended to introduce capital and expertise. With investments of over £2 billion in the first year, across an estimated 200 schools through the country, it was claimed as the single biggest government investment programme in education for over 50 years. The then- Prime Minister Tony Blair said the investment "will see the entire secondary school building stock upgraded and refurbished in the greatest school renewal programme in British history."
Capital funding available for investment in school buildings rose sharply from £683 million in 1996–97 to £3.8 billion in 2003–04; this further increased to £4.5 billion in 2004–05 and to £5.1 billion in 2005–06, £9.3 billion over 2008–11, and £8.2 billion in 2011, ultimately costing £45 billion over 15 years to 20 years. Funding was in 15 'waves', or groups of authorities. BSF was intended to be approximately half conventional and half Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funded. Of the £2.2 billion for BSF, £1.2 billion (55.5%) was covered by PFI credits.
Funding associated with BSF was not just limited to construction and equipment in new schools, but also improving facilities at existing schools, such as providing schools with direct capital funding to spend on buildings and Information and communications technology (ICT). Depending on their size, primary and secondary schools received about £34,000 and £113,000 respectively during 2007–08 for these initiatives, which equates to around £1 billion across English schools.
Most of the major new building works were PFI-funded, which takes the construction and facilities management (but not the educational provision) out of the financial control of local education authorities because the construction and facilities management of a school becomes a source of revenue for the consortia involved for up to 30 years, even if the school is no longer needed. While promoted as a huge investment in public services within Secondary Education, it allowed a consortium made up of a financiers, construction companies and IT companies to take away control of public assets from the local authority.
This may handicap future changes, as designers currently face difficulties in trying to predict how learning environments will evolve, exacerbated by poor levels of participation by governors, teachers, pupils, and the community in the design process. The scale of the building programme was far larger than the capacity of the available pool of experienced architects and designers, while the educators running the developments had very little prior experience of commissioning such major construction works. There was little sharing of best practice and learning between authorities, schools, contractors, suppliers and others involved in BSF, and the timescales discouraged thorough planning. The funds provided under this programme were used for materials and building infrastructure (usually including repairs and on-going maintenance) whilst funding for teaching continued in the normal way, except in the case of academies where funding came directly from the Secretary of State. A consequence of the PFI element of the programme was that recurrent and strategic maintenance of school buildings is addressed within the contract, which reverses the tendency for school governing bodies to under-allocate funds for these aspects of asset management, leading to high levels of backlog maintenance at many schools.
Bidders for funding claimed that the work to put together a bid was onerous and costly, and required the navigation of many government bodies. The co-ordinating body, Partnerships for Schools, was reportedly focused on construction procurement without a full understanding of all the other factors involved.
There were accusations that the relationship between the quality of infrastructure and the quality of pupil education was not clearly demonstrated; many of the schools at the top of the league tables were ancient schools with mostly ancient buildings. The House of Commons Select Committee expressed concerns that, whilst this investment in spaces to support learning was unprecedented, the enormous scale of the project was not being managed to ensure that its scope and aims remained appropriate. There were no clear or consistent objectives set down to judge progress, or to establish if this was the best way to spend £45 billion on education. 800 schools most in need had already been prioritised and refurbished in the years immediately before this programme started; it was unclear what the current need was, and how the money previously spent would fit in with the broad untargetted approach of BSF.
The selection of some schools for demolition and rebuilding was controversial; notably there were criticisms in the architectural press over the demolition of the brutalist Pimlico School, with many calls for the building to be protected by being placed on the register of listed buildings. The designs of 10 of the first 11 schools, including Pimlico, were granted planning permission even though they have been described by CABE as 'mediocre' or 'not yet good enough'. They noted that it was possible to be selected for a PFI scheme without a high quality design.
The upgrade programme took place at a time when building standards were being substantially rewritten to incorporate improved energy efficiency and green construction methods. Schools were alleged to emit about 15% of the public sector's carbon footprint in the UK. New schools and refurbishment projects were required to perform an assessment in accordance with the Building Research Establishment's assessment method (BREEAM) that checked against environmental performance targets for new and refurbished school buildings. However, there were concerns that commercial imperatives would mean no incentives to exceed these standards were put in place, and the subsequent works were mainly being designed against the cheaper but less energy-efficient older building standards, with very little cash being set aside to meet pending standards. To counter some of this criticism and to celebrate the many positive aspects of the BSF programme, in November 2008 Partnerships for Schools hosted the first annual "Excellence in BSF Awards", recognising a wide range of aspects of the initiative.
Primary and secondary schools in the district of the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire were part of the national school upgrading process from Building Schools for the Future. The plans also involved local sponsors and LEA funding to provide £130m to rebuild, extend and modernise five secondary schools and approximately 10 primary schools. The Wyre Forest area of Worcestershire is a sub-rural settlement of three towns, Kidderminster being the largest, Stourport being the second largest and Bewdley on Severn being the smallest. The schools that were part of the BSF 2013 rebuild plans included:
Primary schools included:
In 2008 The Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre were provided with a £4m, state-of-the-art modular building. The look, sustainability and practicality are some of the reasons that the modular building has influenced other new major building projects including BSF, in places such as Birmingham, London and Staffordshire. The new projects in Bristol such as Bridge Learning Campus and many new primary schools have been based on the modular building at Bewdley.
The BSF programme provided funding for the construction of entirely new schools and colleges, as well as rebuilding existing ones and providing ICT funding to non-BSF, new-build schools.
A number of BSF schools were funded as "One School Pathfinders", in Local Authorities that were in later waves of the programme. These projects helped to build capacity and competence in those authorities, as well as to provide exemplars in sustainability and science ("Project Faraday").
Beaumont Leys School is a co-educational comprehensive secondary school in Leicester, England, which caters for students aged between 11 and 16. The school has one of Leicester's four Learning Support Units and one of two City Learning Centres. Recently rebuilt to the cost of £14,000,000 in the Building schools for the future project it is situated in the heart of Beaumont Leys, the school serves some of the city's most economically and educationally deprived areas, and although GCSE performance was poor in the past, the school is improving with a 2007 Ofsted inspection rating the school as Grade 2 Good for overall effectiveness. The new building and improving image of the school, down to dedication from excellent teachers and hard work, has seen not only GCSE results rise every year (68% grade A*-C in 2010) but a 2010 ofsted inspection rated the school as 'Good with outstanding elements'. The schools motto is "Together We Achieve Success".Bridgwater College Academy
Bridgwater College Academy is a mixed all-through Academy which combines both primary and secondary education for pupils aged 3 to 16. The academy, which is sponsored by Bridgwater College, is located in Bridgwater, Somerset, England. It was established in September 2012 following the merger of East Bridgwater Community School with Sedgemoor Manor Junior and Infants schools.Broadway Academy
Broadway Academy (formerly Broadway School) is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham, England.
Originally known as Broadway School, the school building was rebuilt in 2010 as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme. The new building was officially opened by the Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in 2011. The school converted to academy status in July 2013, and was renamed Broadway Academy.
The school is currently working with the education charity, Future First to reconnect with their former students and build an alumni network.Chilton Trinity School
Chilton Trinity School is a mixed secondary school located at Chilton Trinity, Bridgwater, Somerset, England.
Bridgwater was selected as the 1st town in the South West level to be selected for the UK governments Building Schools for the Future initiative, which aimed to rebuild and renew nearly every secondary school in England. Within Bridgwater, Building Schools for the Future was to develop all of the 4 secondary schools along with 2 special provision schools, Elmwood School and Penrose School at an expected cost of around £100 Million. This included the complete relocation and rebuilding of a new school combining the both Haygrove and Penrose School.
In July 2010, several components of the scheme for Bridgwater schools were cancelled and others were still under discussion.Hamilton College, Leicester
Hamilton Academy, previously known as Hamilton Community College, is a co-educational comprehensive secondary school in Leicester, England, taking children between the ages of eleven and sixteen.The college became an academy on 1 September 2017, joining the Rushey Mead Educational Trust (RMET) as a sponsored academy.
The main school building dating from the 50s and 60s was replaced in 2014 as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme. As part of these works Nether Hall Special School co-located with Hamilton on the Keyham Lane West site. 2502 Squadron Air Training Corps also shares the school site.The school was awarded the status of a specialist Technology College in September 2001.Haygrove School
Haygrove School is a co-educational secondary school in Bridgwater, Somerset, England, with 1,106 students aged between 11 and 16.
In early July 2011, the school became an academy. In 2017/18, the school became a Multi-Academy Trust.Hebburn Comprehensive School
Hebburn Comprehensive School is a mixed secondary school located in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, England, with pupils aged from 11 to 16.
The school was previously awarded specialist status as a Maths and Computing College. In Spring 2010 the school began a complete refurbishment as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme that was completed in April 2012. The school now has features such as the Atrium and new IT facilities. Also later on in the year the Music block containing the LRC, Music Department and the Main Hall were refurbished.Heworth Grange Comprehensive School
Heworth Grange School is an Academy and a member of the Consilium Academies Trust in the Gateshead area of Tyne and Wear, England. Between 2010 and 2013 the school underwent a major rebuild as part of the 'Building Schools for the Future' scheme. It educates students aged 11–18, including a sixth form. The Headteacher is Chris Richardson.Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy
Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy (formerly Ian Ramsey Church of England School) is a mixed Church of England secondary school located in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham. It is named after Bishop Ian Ramsey, a former Bishop of Durham. The new Head of School (as of April 2015) is Brian Janes the Executive Headteacher is Gill Booth, who came to support Ian Ramsey from Venerable Bede in Sunderland after it was put into special measures by Ofsted, which led to the resignation of the former Headteacher Janet Wilson in May 2014. The school is always oversubscribed. Ian Ramsey Church of England School converted to academy status on 1 December 2014 and was renamed Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy.Kelmscott School
Kelmscott School is a secondary comprehensive school in Walthamstow, East London, UK. The school has approximately 900 pupils aged 11–16. In 2008 the school underwent an £11.2m refurbishment as part of the Building Schools for the Future program. The current headteacher is Mrs Lynnette Parvez.
Kelmscott School serves an ethnically diverse community, with the largest group of students being of Asian Pakistani heritage. Three in every five students speak a first language other than English, of whom over 50 are at an early stage of learning English. One student in six joins the school after the beginning of Year 7.Kingswood Academy, Hull
Kingswood Academy is a secondary school on the northern fringe of the Bransholme housing estate in Kingston upon Hull, England.
The school opened in 2013, it was built as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme as a replacement on the same site for the Perronet Thompson School, (later known as Kingswood College of Arts) which originally opened in 1988.Lea Manor High School
Lea Manor High School Performing Arts College is a secondary school in Luton, Bedfordshire which opened in 1974. The most recent OFSTED Inspection Report graded the school as "Good" with good capacity to improve further. The school was awarded with Performing Arts specialism in 2007.Northfleet Technology College
Northfleet Technology College (formerly Northfleet School for Boys) is located in Northfleet, Kent. It is an all-boys school that offers secondary education for students aged 11+.
As part of the Building Schools for the Future programme, a new school building was opened in 2010, with state of the art vocational learning areas.Robert Blake Science College
Robert Blake Science College is a mixed secondary school in Bridgwater, Somerset, England.The school, which was established in 1956, has specialist Science College status, has 719 students between the ages of 11 and 16.
The school is named after Robert Blake (1599 — 17 August 1657), one of the most important military commanders of the Commonwealth of England, and one of the most famous English admirals of the 17th century, who was born in Bridgwater.
Bridgwater was selected as the first town in the South West level to be selected for the UK governments Building Schools for the Future initiative, which aimed to rebuild and renew nearly every secondary school in England. Within Bridgwater, Building Schools for the Future was to develop all of the 4 secondary schools along with 2 special provision schools, Elmwood School and Penrose School at an expected cost of around £100 Million. This included the complete relocation and rebuilding of a new school combining the both Haygrove and Penrose School.
In July 2010 several components of the scheme for Bridgwater schools were cancelled and others were still under discussion.Siddal Moor Sports College
Siddal Moor Sports College is a coeducational, comprehensive secondary school for 11 to 16-year-olds in Heywood, Greater Manchester, England.The Chalk Hills Academy
The Chalk Hills Academy (formerly Halyard High School, Barnfield West Academy and West Academy) is a Mixed secondary school and sixth form located in the west of Luton in Bedfordshire, England.
Halyard High School converted to academy status on September 1, 2007 and became part of the Barnfield Federation. A £30m transformation of school buildings, part of Building Schools for the Future programme, was completed in early March 2011. The Academy is recognised as being "Good" by Ofsted In its inspection in 2014. In its previous it was rated as "Outstanding".
In 2015 the school split with the Barnfield Federation and is now part The Shared Learning Trust. The school was subsequently renamed West Academy for a short time before being renamed The Chalk Hills Academy in December 2015The Regis School
Not to be confused with The Regis School of the Sacred Heart.The Regis School, previously called 'Bognor Regis Community College' is a secondary 11-18, academy, located in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. It has approximately 1,500 pupils. It converted to academy status from LEA control in January 2012, under the sponsorship of United Learning.
The school adopted its name in September 2010 upon the opening of new school buildings constructed as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme, before which it was located on two separate sites. the school specialises in Sports and has additional facilities for the specialism.
The current headteacher is Mike Garlik.
In November 2017, the school was rated 'Good' by Ofsted with Leadership and Management judged as 'Outstanding'.The Taunton Academy
The Taunton Academy is a school with academy status in Taunton, Somerset, England.
The school was formed by the merger of The St Augustine of Canterbury Church of England/Roman Catholic VA School and Ladymead Community School. Its original sponsors were Somerset County Council and the Diocese of Bath and Wells, however the school transferred to the Richard Huish Trust in 2015 and is now sponsored by Richard Huish College. It was opened on 9 September 2010 by Peter Price, the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Initially the academy admitted pupils aged 11 to 16 and will be based in the existing schools' buildings. In September 2011, the academy opened a sixth form for 100 students. In 2013, the academy moved to new and refurbished buildings on the former Ladymead site on Cheddon Road, with the former St Augustine site being closed.
This plan was temporarily put on hold following the government's major review of the Building Schools for the Future programme in July 2010,
and was subject to review by the Department for Education.Torquay Academy
Torquay Academy is an over-subscribed non-selective 11 to 18 school in Torquay, Devon, England. Before 1 September 2012, it was known as Torquay Community College. The academy is part of a multi-academy trust in partnership with Torquay Boys' Grammar School.The headteacher is Steve Margetts. In January 2010, the school moved into a new building as part of the Building Schools for the Future scheme. In March 2012, a short film about the school's innovative design was made by ITN and broadcast at the Building Schools Exhibition and Conference.Following an Ofsted inspection in June 2016, the school was rated "good" on all criteria.