Education Secretary breaks ground on School Rebuilding Programme
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has signalled the start of a major schools rebuilding programme across the UK by breaking ground on work at West Coventry Academy.
The 10-year School Rebuilding Programme will carry out major refurbishment and rebuilding projects at schools and colleges across England. The new builds will be net zero carbon in operation to meet the government's ambitious 2050 climate goals.
The £38m rebuild at West Coventry Academy includes a new three storey school building, sports centre and car park. It's the first of 100 schools to benefit from the scheme, with a target of 500 new schools to be built over the 10 year funding period.
The government is currently in consultation on how best to prioritise the selection of schools for the rebuilding and refurbishment programme.
Work to make schools more sustainable will be showcased at Cop26 in Glasgow this November. Measures to be announced will focus on championing climate education and skills, and making it easier for pupils to have an impact on biodiversity and the environment around them.
Critical to the School Rebuilding Programme is lowering the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings. This work includes research into how construction and layout of school sites affects carbon emissions, how schools will be powered in future and the creation of biodiverse outdoor spaces.
Cop26 is bringing together climate and education ministers from across the globe and will set out the government's vision for greener and more sustainable education by equipping young people with environmental knowledge, plus opportunities for careers in the green economy.
Schools across the UK have already thrown themselves into the Let's Go Zero campaign, urging them to achieve carbon zero by 2030. The campaign intends to showcase these low-carbon solutions at Cop26. Off-setting will be a critical part of school's decarbonisation and Ashmount Primary School in Islington has already achieved zero carbon status.
A cost-benefit analysis of green school construction in the US found that integrating sustainability in school construction increased costs by just two per cent, while building green was five times cheaper than retrofitting.
Speaking in Coventry, the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the government was revolutionising the school estate to future proof the environment and children's education. The 500 new schools and refurbishment projects will impact the lives of children for years to come with buildings that are net zero in operation.
He said the government was leading the charge for more sustainable schools that would allow pupils and teachers to have a positive impact on the environment. The rebuilds and refurbishments, with the first 100 backed by £2bn in government funding, would create world leading educational facilities from sports halls and laboratories to dining rooms and classrooms.
Ana Neofitou, headteacher at West Coventry Academy, said it had been a great opportunity to host the minister and show off the ambitious plans for the Academy. Zahawi had been pleased to make the investment which would benefit both students and the wider community, rebuilding a school that he described as well past its sell-by date.