Rebuilding schools happening faster and at a lower cost

The Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick.
The Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick.

The Government’s flagship school-building initiative has cut the cost of school construction projects by more than a third and is delivering them faster than ever before, new figures show.

The Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) is the scheme which has provided funding for the rebuild of the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick.

Thanks to the £2.4billion investment in the PSBP, which will see 260 of the most dilapidated schools nationally, including 31 in the North East, rebuilt or refurbished, school-building projects are costing 35 per cent less than those built under the previous school-building initiative – the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

The average cost of rebuilding a secondary school is around £15million – with each one saving around £5million of taxpayers’ money – and this is attributed to the fact that under the BSF programme each school was designed separately. This time round, the contract for the Duchess’s rebuild as well as the other schools in the North East went to one firm – Miller Construction.

The report also claims that under the BSF, it took three years for building work to begin, while under the PSBP, this time has been slashed to around one year. However, this hasn’t proved the case in Alnwick, although the planning application has now been approved.