Last edited 11 Oct 2020

Priority School Building Programme PSBP

The Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP) was established in 2011 to address the needs of those schools in the worst condition that required urgent repair. The programme is centrally managed and procured by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Education (DFE).

Making sure schools are high quality and positive environments is a key part of the government’s long-term vision for education. There is a general belief that better schools help build a fairer society and a better economy. The intention of the Priority Schools Building Programme is to undertake school rebuilding and refurbishment projects to improve the overall standard of school buildings by creating classrooms which are conducive to learning and providing access to world-class facilities for pupils and teachers.

The programme covers primary, secondary and special education needs (SEN) schools. The list of 261 schools that were successful in the first phase of the programme was announced in May 2012, covering schools due to be wholly or substantially rebuilt by 2017. 215 of these schools are being delivered by capital grant funding and 46 schools via private finance funding.

Schools in the programme are spread across England and have been grouped together in batches by taking consideration of condition, need, commercial viability and geography.

A number of consultants have been appointed to deliver the PSBP and many contractors submitted bids to secure the construction contracts, as well as ongoing maintenance contracts. Companies listed on the EFA contractors framework were invited to bid for each of the capital batches. The bids were reviewed and evaluated and 2 contractors shortlisted. Following a further period of competition the successful contractors were appointed.

As of 26 January 2015, 16 schools had been completed and 55 schools were under construction. The remaining projects were deep into the planning or development stages.

The government believes that schools are being developed much faster and cheaper under the PSBP than those developed under the previous school building initiative, Building Schools for the Future (BSF). It took around 3 years for construction work to begin under the BSF, whereas under the PSBP this has been reduced to 1 year. PSBP projects are thought to have cost around a third less.

In May 2014 the government announced a further £2 billion for a second phase, PSBP2, which will undertake rebuilding and refurbishment projects across 277 schools from 2015 to 2021. In February 2015, an extra £4 billion was allocated between 2015 and 2018. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, “ is crucial that we invest in education, so that every child has a fair start in life”. Ref, £6 billion investment to rebuild and improve schools across England, 9 February 2015.

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