The cost of new Free Schools is being cut by relaxing space and environment standards, according to Building, the leading construction industry magazine and website.
“Michael Gove’s free schools were meant to rip through red tape. But it’s not just the curriculum that has been relaxed – increasingly, sustainability and space requirements are being dropped too. Now fears are growing that this latest austerity measure could spread to all new schools,” says a web report (registration required) today.
A new school in Reading was originally designed to be a zero-carbon Passivhaus building with negligible running costs, but the space standards were reduced by about 10 per cent and it does not have environmental certification.
A source told the magazine:
It simply wasn’t a priority – green is not a priority for the Department for Education (DfE). That’s the reality. They have very little interest in sustainability and certainly not if it costs more than another route. It’s all about the cheapest possible capital outlay.
A few days ago the magazine reported that Department for Education said it planned to relax space standards for schools, with a reduction of the overall gross area averaging 15% in secondary schools and 5% in primary schools for the entire school build.