Press Release - Overhaul to England’s school building programme: 6 July 2010

Details of changes to the BSF project below.

Overhaul to England’s school building programme - Department for Education press release:

Date: 05 July 2010

Education Secretary Michael Gove today set out a complete overhaul of capital investment in England’s schools.

Mr Gove said he was making tough, immediate decisions to help get the best value for money.

Bringing an end to Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF), he said in the light of the public finances, it would have been irresponsible to carry on regardless with an inflexible, and needlessly complex programme.

And he said it was right to set out a clear way forward for prudent future capital investment in education up to 2015, to flexibly target schools in the worst condition; cut red tape; and tackle urgent demand from rising birth-rates.

The Chancellor made clear in last month’s Budget that existing overall public capital investment plans, put in place by the previous government, would remain with no further cuts.

The key elements of today’s announcement are:

  • 706 schools will be opened under new arrangements being agreed today, of which nearly 386 schools are projected to be new build; 262 to be remodelled or refurbished; 26 to be ICT-only. The building programme in 32 further schools is yet to be confirmed.
  • 715 schools will no longer be rebuilt or refurbished through BSF of which nearly 180 schools are projected to be new build, over 319 to be remodelled or refurbished and 63 to be ICT-only. The building programme in 153 schools has not yet been confirmed.
  • That 123 academy projects in development which have not reached financial close will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • That in 14 cases, prioritised locally as 'sample' projects - the first taken forward in the area - will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in recognition of local need. Although financial close has not been reached, very significant work has been undertaken to the point of appointing a preferred bidder at 'close of dialogue'.
  • That the Government is launching a comprehensive Review of all capital investment in schools, early years, colleges and sixth forms. Led by Sebastian James, Group Operations Director of DSG international plc, the Review team includes Kevin Grace, Tesco - Director of Property Services, Barry Quirk, Chief Executive of Lewisham, John Hood former Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford and Sir John Egan, former Chief Executive of Jaguar and BAA.
  • The review will guide future spending decisions over the next Spending Review period (2011-12 to 2014-15). It will look at how best to meet parental demand; make current design and procurement cost-effective and efficient; and overhaul how capital is allocated and targeted.
  • That the department is reducing its End Year Flexibility (EYF) requirements by £1bn to help ensure no additional borrowing this year. This is in line with the Government’s plan to reduce the deficit, and the Treasury’s announcement today that Departments have agreed to address unrealistic inherited spending commitments for 2010-11, where funding was reliant on underspends through the (EYF) system or additional funding from the Government’s Reserve. The Department expects to be able to manage most of this through better financial management and tighter controls. Because of the size of the reduction, however, the Department will have to make £156.5m savings from capital budgets where commitments are no longer affordable.

The Secretary of State is also announcing today that he will be ending the £972,000 annual funding for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) design advice service associated with the BSF programme.

Sebastian James, Group Operations Director of DSG International plc, and Review chair said:

“I am delighted to be involved in this vital project and feel very passionately that we can build a schools infrastructure in Britain that is truly world class, while significantly reducing our spending. In my view, success in this review means that we will have found a way to have great schools for our children against a more measured investment backdrop.”

This has also been welcomed by educational organisations with experience of working through the current BSF process. Sir Bruce Liddington, Director General of E-Act said:

"The current BSF programme is very bureaucratic, slow and unwieldy and I would welcome a review.”


Aredi Pitsiaeli, Director of Business and Strategic Development - Oasis Community Learning said:

"We welcome the review of the BSF programme as to learn lessons from past experience in order to find a better way of working for the future can only be a good thing.”


Notes to Editors

  1.  All documents, including The Secretary of State’s statement to the House, a table showing the impact of the announcement for all Building Schools for the Future projects, details of the £169.5m savings from capital budgets, and the Review Terms of Reference can be found on In the News.
  2. Sebastian James Biography - Sebastian James, 44, is the Group Operations Director of DSG International plc, leading both the Retail and Services teams, as well as being responsible for the Supply Chain. Previously, as Group Development Director, Sebastian managed the Currys store building and transformation programme. In both roles he has been responsible for significantly improving quality and customer experience while reducing costs by over 25 per cent. Prior to working at DSGi he was Chief Executive of Synergy Insurance Services Limited, a private equity backed insurance company in turnaround. Sebastian has wide retail experience including (as Strategy Director) responsibility for developing and implementing the turnaround strategy at Mothercare plc. He was also involved, as operating partner, in the foundation of eGS, a leading e-Government procurement platform. He started his career at The Boston Consulting Group having completed an MBA at INSEAD and a BA at Oxford University.

(Press release can be found at:

Press Release - Overhaul to England’s school building programme: 6 July 2010
Details of changes to the BSF project below.