The National Association of Head Teachers recently launched its manifesto ‘For Their Future’ – calling for children’s education to be a pivotal part of the debate leading up to the General Election.

School buildings, and their ‘decrepit’ state, are one of the three urgent issues NAHT says the next government must address.

The other two issues are a special educational needs (SEND) system failing pupils, and a recruitment and retention crisis.

Importantly, the manifesto underscores:

  • School buildings’ inefficient energy use
  • The need to ensure sustainability is central to all repair and rebuilding projects so that the school estate plays a major role in the journey to net zero.

Here, in more detail, is what the manifesto states on the topic of school estates:

  • ‘Between 2009-10 and 2022-23, the Department for Education’s capital spending declined by 46% in real terms.’
  • ‘The nation’s children, young people and school staff deserve to be taught and work in safe, modern and well-equipped buildings, yet the school estate is largely unfit for purpose.’
  • ‘The government’s Condition of School Buildings Survey (May 2021) estimated that £11.4bn is needed to bring the school estate up to a satisfactory condition, a figure which is now much higher, with two years of spiralling inflation.’
  • ‘Many school buildings are incredibly inefficient when it comes to energy use, and attempts to create a more sustainable school estate have been limited, at best. ‘
  • ‘The recent RAAC crisis has laid bare the consequences of more than a decade of underinvestment in our schools and school buildings.’
  • ‘RAAC is just one of a number of pressing issues when it comes to the school estate. The presence of asbestos and concerns about the use of combustible cladding and insulation materials are equally troubling and require urgent governmental action.’

NAHT is calling on the next government to:

  • ‘Commit to restoring all school buildings to at least a ‘satisfactory’ or better condition as soon as possible.’
  • ‘Set out an urgent school rebuilding programme so that, at the very least, the oldest and most decrepit buildings are replaced, beginning with buildings that carry known structural risks, including asbestos, RAAC and other similar construction methods.’
  • ‘Ensure sustainability is central to all repair and rebuilding projects so that the school estate plays a major role in the journey to net zero.’
  • ‘Ensure accessibility becomes an integral part of all school refurbishments and rebuilds.

Since 2005, Energys Group has helped over 1000 cost-conscious schools, academies and colleges to save money and reduce carbon emissions in their drive to Net Zero. We have delivered scores of projects under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Programme – and we are a trusted Framework and delivery partner to many local authorities and Academy Trusts.

For support, advice and help with applications – or any aspect of decarbonisation in the education sector – drop us a line – our team will be happy to help.

This image file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Oosoom at English Wikipedia

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