Building schools in the future Speculation about what is going to happen after the election is unhelpful (14 May, page 3).

The challenge is that if educational transformation is to be attainable through a period of considerable political and financial uncertainty, a twofold approach will be required:

  • Maximising the educational impact of funding opportunities, whether through external sources or internal savings
  • Ensuring and demonstrating maximum value defined against clear key performance indicators as to the effective use, deployment and management of existing assets: buildings, people, equipment and ICT, mapped against educational needs.

It is clear that external funding will be agreed only after far more rigorous evaluation as to educational impact. More than ever, authorities will need to demonstrate that they are already maximising their capacity to affect attainment within their existing estate, and that they are maximising opportunities to innovate.

This suggests that the focus will move from new buildings to effective asset and resource management and the implementation of policies clearly capable of affecting educational engagement and attainment. The mantra will become “maximum impact, minimum cost”.

For any authority in the early stages of a Building Schools for the Future submission, there will need to be a programme to evaluate assets, resources, policies and levels of attainment. From this work a focused proposal will emerge in which by a mixture of agreed structural reforms and targeted investment (as and when available), schools and authorities can fulfil their aspirations.

Peter Cobrin