Examination of the school estate

ASCL response to the National Audit Office examination of the school estate. 
ASCL is a member representative organisation, not a responsible body for the purposes of defining our context in response to this study.

The government’s latest evidence base available in the public domain is the May 2021 Condition of School Buildings Survey (based on data from 2017 – 2019). This report states that, of the teaching blocks still being used in the school estate, the 1960s is the decade with the largest representation in terms of floor area. 23% of the estate’s condition need is in blocks from the 1960s, making it the highest source of condition need, followed by the two decades either side. The 1960s sees the peak of condition need per m2 and condition need per block. Condition need per m2 then falls every decade through to 2020. Condition need per block rises slightly in the 2000s compared to the 1990s. Schools from before 1900 have a condition need per block less than half of the peak, and a condition need per m2 similar to the 1980s, suggesting that these buildings are in excellent condition for their age.

ASCL welcomed the governments school rebuilding programme, with its intention to rebuild and refurbish 500 schools and sixth form colleges in England. However, based on the Department for Education’s own reports, we do not believe that the programme goes far enough in meeting the overall requirements for fundamental repairs and refurbishments. We believe that the government needs to develop a more strategic and sustainable approach to maintaining the school and college estate, and take a less disparate approach to capital funding.

Full response to consultation