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How do we Build Schools for Nothing?

For avoidance of doubt, BSfN is NOT a developer but works on behalf of the school in order to maximise the land value and to procure and deliver replacement facilities

Since 1988 state schools have been permitted to opt out of local authority control by initially becoming ‘grant-maintained’, funded directly from central government. Since then the legal entity has developed into foundation and academy trusts. Many academies have also amalgamated to form multi-academy trusts.

Schools which had foundation or grant-maintained status have typically had the freehold of their land and buildings transferred into their ownership. This arrangement normally remains when subsequently becoming an academy or part of a multi-academy trust.

School Managers recognise that, in the main, the condition of school buildings is extremely poor and fails to meet the requirements of delivering a modern curriculum. The Department of Education’s recent property data survey* recognises that an investment of £13.8 billion is needed to bring all school buildings to a ‘good’ condition.

With current levels of public spending it is unrealistic to wait for the government to invest in a school. A proactive school management should look at opportunities to self-fund their own redevelopment.

Before and After

Here in this example at Kingsdown School, you can see the site before and after the build work was completed.



Using surplus or not maintained land

Many schools have surplus land, sometimes inconveniently located and possibly not maintained. This land can often be under-utilised and infrequently used. However, land assets may have considerable value which could unlock the funding required to finance redevelopment.

BSfN has been built on experience and success and are well placed to provide advice and guidance throughout the entire process. Coming from a construction consultancy background BSfN has vast experience in working with the relevant authorities, agents, lawyers, architects, developers and contractors so schools can be confident that BSfN is working in their best interests at all times.

Disposing of school land is both complex and controversial. However BSfN has plenty of experience in successfully handling the entire process.

Land being developed does not always need to be owned by the school, as BSfN are sometimes able to take advantage of neighbouring developments if they are in the process of obtaining relevant planning consents. Kingsdown School is an example of this.


*Capital Funding for Schools Report by National Audit Office report for the Department of Education, 22nd Feb 2017 (page 10, paragraph 16)

Read our case studies

Here’s a selection of case studies of schools who have benefited from our work:

Three Rivers Academy, Hersham

St Johns School, Wiltshire

Kingsdown School in Swindon

Epsom & Ewell High School