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Replacement schools to be 15% smaller

New guidelines could mean replacement school buildings are 15% smaller than those built under Labour.

The new proposals, expected this week, set the template for 261 replacement primary and secondary school buildings to be constructed over the next five years at a cost of £2.5bn.

The space standards will reduce the costs in the Government’s replacement programme, with the average price of each expected to be £7m less than it would have been under the previous Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Baseline designs have been drawn up by the Government’s Education Funding Agency.

Chief executive Peter Lauener said: “More for less is the theme of what we are trying to do with education capital. We are looking to come out with an average school building cost of under £14m compared to £21m under the BSF programme. It is not quite buy one, get one free. It is a three for two proposition.

“A school building should be a safe and welcoming environment in which great teaching can take place, but it is teachers who will inspire children, not buildings.”

But opponents have raised concerns that smaller corridors could increase pupil congestion and could lead to behavioural issues.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “The spaces outside the classroom are vital to the culture and climate of a school and to have well-ordered corridors is key. In a secondary school, there are potentially 1,000 pupils changing lessons at exactly the same time and, if corridors are narrow, it will lead to them bumping into one another and that could lead to discipline problems.”

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