Event Director, Education Estates
Current projections indicate that the primary education estate will not satisfy the demands that primary schools will face in the years to come. Figures suggest that half of England's school areas will have more primary pupils than places within the next two years according to the Local Government Association (LGA). Some local areas will face a 20% shortfall in places by 2015, according to analysis of official data from 2012 (source bbc.co.uk).
To be fair, the Government has responded pledging around £4 billion to create new school places and renovate and repair existing school buildings. So, with funding in place, its time to find the best solutions for the problems that have been spotted on the horizon – the clock is ticking!
In my view, its time to be creative with space and explore the best way to create flexible education facilities that can adapt to evolving teaching methods while catering for greater student intake. Now is the time to look at keeping running costs down with new technology to ensure that we don’t cripple the bursars’ budgets with excessive running costs further down the line. It is clear that there are plenty of avenues to explore and there is clearly no time like the present.
This is why I have launched Education Estates - a new event that focuses on the complex and challenging issues facing those designing, building, maintaining and managing Britain’s schools, colleges and universities.
I hope to facilitate the discussions that will lead to significant enhancements in the built environment across the education sector. From my position as the “middle man” I can see that there are clear problems, targets and goals for those managing education facilities and a host of new ideas, new technologies and strong solutions provided by a number of organisations who will be present at the event.
With the support of vital organisations including the CIC, Education Funding Agency, Carbon and Energy Fund and the National Governors’ Association, the response has been fantastic with visitors registering in healthy numbers. School leaders and local authority representatives will sit along side university and college estate managers keen to discuss upcoming projects with design and construction professionals.
I believe this event will help to tackle a key issue and one that deserves a real focus. I hope you will be able to join us!
Contributor: James Lee is Event Director of Education Estates. Since joining Step Exhibitions in April 2011 James has launched three new built environment events as well as being the commercial lead for Healthcare Estates.