Can We Build Value for Money Schools?

Schools represent the future of Wales. So it is vital that we build them right. That is why Government is so keen, not just to invest in the education system, but to make sure any investment generates real value for money.

27th March 2015

That is why at CEW we are working alongside Welsh Government to ensure that its £1.4B investment in the 21st Century Schools Programme drives real, long term value for everyone involved: children, teachers, communities and the construction supply chain responsible for the delivery of the facilities themselves.

There is advice available from Welsh Government for all stakeholders,  but we will also be promoting six guiding principles that are all geared towards maximising value for money.  We’ve written about these in the Western Mail, but we’ve summarised them here as well –

  1. Educational outcomes: greater attainment levels, better attendance by teachers and pupils and a better all round experience.
  2. Cost: but not just the building cost, it is about the cost of the school over its whole life. By making a school more energy efficient, we reduce its running costs. Cost must not be confused with the price – cost is for the long term, the whole life cost.
  3. Certainty: certainty in terms of cost, time taken to build the school and certainty in quality standards. If we’ve been offered these levels of certainty, we should get them.
  4. Specification: what functionality will be demanded of the school building? How big does it need to be, how flexible is the space to cope with education and community requirements? And what is the quality of the learning environment?
  5. Sustainability: this cuts across all of the guiding principles – especially the concept of whole life costs. The focus is on the long term energy performance of the asset, its adaptability to climate change and its overall carbon footprint.
  6. Social value and the school role in the local community: what benefits are there for local people during the construction phase and the longer term role the school buildings play in the community itself?