Government Unveils Prefab Schools as Austerity Measures Hit Education
The prefabricated schools are not mandatory, but heads are prohibited from spending more than their cost on an alternative. They undercut their predecessors by £6 million.
The new designs have already attracted controversy. On average they are 15% smaller than schools built by the previous government. Nusrat Faizullah of the British Council for School Environments has questioned whether these smaller schools will inhibit flexibility and innovation.
Mr Faizullah is also concerned that narrower corridors and halls will have an adverse effect on pupil behaviour.
The Association of School and College Leaders has welcomed the move, “so long as it is not made too rigid as this could be a false economy.”
The Education Funding Agency has countered that it believes the schools will be bright and airy learning environments.
There are three modular designs available to choose from. Each school will be built off-site and delivered to its location. The modular nature of the buildings means that more classrooms can be added as required.
As of today, head teachers wanting to build non-prefab schools will be limited to a budget of £1,113 per square metre. Beyond that they will have to find money from external sources.
The announcement is in line with the governments drive to convert all state-funded schools into privately-sponsored academies.