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Article Date: 17th March 2017

Formica - The Spring Budget & Addressing the Need for School Builds

Spring Budget - School Builds - Laminate Sheets - Decorative Laminates

Formica - Scott Wilkie Nursery

The spring Budget announcement reveals the Government is pushing forward with its free schools expansion plan and investing another £320m towards the opening of new schools. Chancellor Phillip Hammond also disclosed that £260m has been put aside for much-needed school building repairs.

The free schools plan has come under fierce criticism from industry leaders. With local authority schools desperate for funding, Union leaders have accused the Government of failing to address the needs of the majority and see the Government’s expenditure as a missed opportunity.

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), existing schools require £6.7bn to bring them up to standard. Regarding the Government’s pledge to build 500 free schools by 2020, auditors estimate that it will cost the Department of Education £2.5bn just to purchase the land to build them on.

Phil Wise, European Marketing Director at Formica Group, comments: "Approximately 60% of existing schools are over 40 years old and the NAO is warning that the condition of these builds is worsening. With the government receiving criticism for the push to build more free schools, it is apparent that part of the solution to help remedy the situation is to invest in refurbishing the existing building stock."

Formica - Scott Wilkie Nursery - Before"With nearly 1000 local authority schools and more than 100 academy trusts in England now in debt, we need to deliver more for less to maintain and improve the UK estate. Good design is crucial both in terms of aesthetics as well as lowering maintenance costs. Durable, easily cleaned, and maintained products that do not need to be replaced every year help to avoid unnecessary expenses. The RIBA report stating that over £150m is wasted annually on the running and maintenance of “substandard” school buildings makes the importance of this clear."

Laminate is one of those versatile products that can be used both inside and out. The material can facilitate beautiful, bespoke designs, and make life easier when it comes to maintenance – its popularity in education speaks for itself.

There is certainly the need for new schools, but it is also important that the Government pays consideration to refurbishing existing builds before the cost of restoration doubles by 2020, as it is currently on course for.

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