Move will be prioritised as government seeks to cut costs of school building

The government will move to procure standardised designs for schools “immediately”, education secretary Michael Gove said today.

Standardisation was heavily emphasized by Sebastian James in his review of the future school building programme, but until today it was unclear how far the government would support his recommendation.

In a letter to schools and local authorities, Gove said that he wished “to develop a suite of standardised drawings and specifications for school buildings,” indicating that the government would go further than supporting the principle of standardisation but leaving it to individual project teams to implement, as some had thought he would.

The government’s response to the James review, published today, states: “On standardised designs and specifications for school buildings, we intend to move to procure these immediately. We very much agree that in the past, there has been too much reinvention of the wheel where school design has been concerned, which has slowed procurement and increased costs. We are of course not aiming for a “one-size-fits-all” solution.  We want to see really good fit for purpose designs that are sustainable, flexible and can appropriately reflect local conditions and needs. “

“We will consult fully and further on these matters as the designs are developed, in a separate exercise.”

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