School Rebuilding Programme: Methodology for prioritising the first 50 schools

  • 29th May 2024

The Government has published the principles and methodology used to decide the first 50 projects to be developed under the School Rebuilding Programme announced in June 2020.

The Department for Education (DfE) has prioritised schools for the first 50 projects based on the condition of buildings as identified in data collected in the Condition Data Collection (CDC).

Particular priority has been given to those schools with Laingspan or Intergrid buildings – construction systems used to construct schools in the post-war period, which are reaching the end of their design life and have potential structural weaknesses.

The department has prioritised these for replacement and included in the first 50 projects all identified school buildings of these types that are still in service.

Twenty two of the 50 schools have been prioritised for this reason.

Any remaining school buildings of these types that are identified later will be prioritised in future rounds of the programme.

In addition, schools have been prioritised where CDC data shows that poor condition is most highly concentrated and urgent, with 28 of the 50 schools prioritised in this way.

The methodology for prioritisation consists of the following steps:

  • Calculation of condition need per metre squared for each block. Condition need in each block was calculated using the sum of the condition need in C and D rated external walls, roofs, mechanical equipment, and electrical equipment, as identified in CDC data. These building elements were used to give the most-representative view of whether a block has a need for rebuilding. C and D ratings mean elements are ‘exhibiting major defects and/or not operating as intended’ or are ‘life expired and/or have serious risk of imminent failure’ respectively. The calculated need was divided by the gross internal floor area (GIFA) to produce a value for the condition need per metre squared, for each block. This step was completed for every block of every school in the CDC dataset.
  • Calculation of condition need per metre squared for the highest-need area of each school. For each site, blocks were ordered from highest need per metre squared, to lowest. Blocks were then added in order of need, until their combined GIFA met or exceeded a minimum threshold of 300m2. Blocks were grouped in this way to create a minimum project size and to avoid prioritising very-small projects that are less suitable for a centrally-delivered rebuilding programme, while allowing sites with a collection of small buildings to be considered as one project. The total need in the blocks was divided by the total GIFA of the blocks, to give the condition need per metre squared for the collection of the highest-need blocks on each site. In practice, on some sites a single block was included in the calculation, while on other sites several blocks were included, depending on the size of blocks that had the highest level of need on each site. On some sites the GIFA used for comparison was close to 300m2while on others a greater GIFA was used because the method always included whole blocks. Where a school’s total site GIFA was below 300m2 an exception was made and the average of the need across all of the site’s blocks was taken, so that all schools were included in the methodology. This step was completed for every school in the CDC dataset.
  • Verification of current condition need and prioritisation of schools. Having completed the above steps, schools showing the greatest need were investigated in detail to verify the condition need on each site, before taking decisions to prioritise schools for the programme. Schools were not prioritised if the school had closed since the CDC data was collected; the need identified in CDC had since been resolved; or, following review, the need identified through CDC did not require a rebuilding or significant refurbishment project to resolve it. This step was completed only for those schools showing the greatest need in step 2.
  • Inclusion of special educational needs (SEN) schools and alternative provision (AP) schools. To ensure these school types were represented in the first round of 50 projects, some schools were prioritised specifically from these categories. The special educational needs (SEN) schools and alternative provision (AP) schools showing the greatest need in step 2 were identified as high-priority candidates for the programme and taken to step 3. Three SEN schools and one AP school were included in the 50 projects, broadly in line with the proportion of these schools in the school estate.

School types in scope of the school rebuilding programme are:

  • Maintained schools, including maintained nursery schools foundation schools
  • Voluntary-aided schools
  • Voluntary-controlled schools
  • Academies (including free schools, studio schools and UTCs)
  • Maintained and non-maintained special schools
  • Sixth-form colleges
  • Alternative provision (including pupil referral units)
  • City technology colleges

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