Growth in pupil numbers at Hampshire’s schools continues, and investment in schools to provide the additional places is keeping pace, thanks to Hampshire County Council’s strong track record of planning.
Executive Member for Income and Capital Receipts Cllr Mel Kendal said: “We pride ourselves on investing in quality school buildings that inspire children to learn. Having our award-winning in-house property services means that we can design and build excellent facilities at very good value to the taxpayer.”
School expansion projects – including two completely new schools – totalling more than £90 million in value will complete over the next three years, providing nearly 5000 places.
Cllr Kendal continued: “Expanding our schools now, and doing it well, is also an investment for the future. Well designed buildings with good quality facilities will withstand the test of time, and will enable schools to maximise the use of all their space. In many cases it also enables school buildings to fulfil extra functions and serve the wider community as well. In the long run, providing the best quality buildings also proves to be the best value.”
These investments are part of the County Council’s strategy to provide more than 11,000 new primary school places across the county by 2018. It is part of a wider £248 million schools capital programme, which will ensure that existing buildings are maintained in good condition, there is better provision for pupils with special educational needs and money is made available for other improvements on sites.
Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “This is excellent news for the county’s children and for our economy. Hampshire has a strong track record of planning and for providing high quality teaching and learning spaces for pupils and their teachers. We want all children to have the best possible education facilities in which to thrive.”
There are eight projects scheduled for completion in 2015/16, at £18m value providing 945 additional school places. There are 10 projects scheduled for 2016/17 completions, at a collective value of £41.4m delivering 2145 additional places. The County Council is also currently designing 11 projects for 2017/18 completion, a programme currently of £33.6m delivering 1620 additional school places. This is a total investment of £93m providing 4710 additional school places over 3 years.
A list of schools being improved is available in the Capital Programme 2017/18, in the Appendix to the Capital Report. This is an indicative programme subject to statutory consultation processes with timings and works subject to change.
It includes four new schools, two of which have confirmed academy sponsors – Barton Farm Academy in Winchester, sponsored by the University of Winchester, and David Kirk Academy in Aldershot, sponsored by the University of Chichester.
The County Council leads a number of initiatives sharing data and developing procurement framework arrangements with regional local authority partners, which has helped to drive down the costs of school building projects by grouping projects together and buying materials and services in bigger quantities.