By
7th Mar 2022

The importance of the right learning environment has become ever more prominent since the start of the pandemic two years ago, as students switched to a mix of home-based learning and hybrid teaching due to Covid-19 lockdowns and self-isolation requirements.

The quality of school buildings has been found to have a significant impact on how students learn and the outcomes of their education. In 2019, a study conducted by Maryland’s Morgan State University and others found that changing the design of a classroom could significantly decrease students’ stress levels and at the same time increase average test scores three-fold.

Meanwhile, the RIBA Better Spaces for Learning report highlighted the role of good school design on pupil wellbeing, attendance, behaviour and attainment as well as teacher wellbeing, productivity and retention.

Therefore, a school’s design and condition not only impact just students, but teachers too, which in hand can then affect the quality of teaching those students can then receive.

Unfortunately, in many of the UK’s education buildings, the environment in which pupils are taught is seen as less than adequate. Moreover, a 2017 National Audit Office report revealed that getting all school buildings up to scratch would cost an estimated £6.7 billion.

Funding schools for the next generation

So, what can be done for the future of education buildings to ensure they are structurally sound, healthy and nurturing environments, and can also be built and maintained under tight budgets?

Safe, well-maintained school buildings are vital to support schools and teachers in delivering a high-quality education, so that pupils gain the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need. That is why maintaining and improving the condition of the school estate is a top priority for the Department for Education.

A series of government school building programmes have provided funding for schools who have been most in need of major rebuilding or refurbishment. Announced in June 2020, the latest School Rebuilding Programme will fund major rebuilding and refurbishment projects at 500 schools and sixth form colleges in England over the next decade. The funding is to be distributed nationally over a 10-year period and the investment will be prioritised based on the condition of the buildings.

The first 100 schools to receive funding have been announced and the government has recently consulted on how to prioritise subsequent schools.

However, not every school will be eligible for this batch of central government funding. Others will have to rely on bidding for capital funding through the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) or the School Condition Allocations (SCA) fund to benefit from refurbishments, extensions and upgrades.

Sourcing reliable contractors quickly

School refurbishments and extensions are typically scheduled to have the most disruptive works completed during the six-week summer break – to minimise the impact on lessons in classrooms and exams. Due to most capital funding being allocated on a short-term basis each financial year, the need to act quickly for these projects is paramount.

With this in mind, we would like to remind our members to consider using CPC’s Minor Works Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), as it can offer you  a reliable and efficient way to find contractors to carry out your refurbishment works without needing to go through time-consuming procurement processes.

Unlike traditional framework agreements, the DPS offers members a much more flexible, time-saving and responsive procurement route.

One key benefit of using CPC’s Minor Works DPS, is that it allows you the ability to include your own preferred and trusted local trades and contractors in your procurement process, as well as giving you access to other contractors that have passed a vetting process to compare quotations against. Your local contractor can also apply to be on the DPS at any time throughout the life of the agreement. All supplier applications to the DPS will also be processed and evaluated within a maximum of 14 days.

Other key benefits for members using CPC’s Minor Works DPS include:

  • The DPS has been broken down into a number of different categories to enable you to procure a wide array of specialist trades and works.
  • CPC will do the necessary due diligence on your local contractor, e.g. financial stability checks, health and safety record and process checks, environmental management checks, quality management checks, reducing the risk of this not being done or saving you time in having to carry out this due diligence.
  • Encourages competition enabling you to demonstrate Value for Money
  • All further competitions will be undertaken using the Multiquote tendering platform to ensure all procurement processes are fully auditable.

 

For more information on how using our Minor Works DPS will help you with upgrading, refurbishing or rebuilding any of your campus facilities, then please visit our Minor Works DPS page.

Should you require any further information or assistance, then please feel free to contact Contract Manager, Peter McMullan at [email protected] or on 0161 974 0950.