Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Capital Spending Review in education facilities and science parks for the UK

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

The long awaited Capital Spending Review took place this week and the good news is that £15.8 billion has been set aside for refurbishment and repair work on up to 600 schools in need of urgent assistance.

Key points from the spending review for education

Annual education budget = £57.6bn 
£15.8bn for 600 UK schools
Direct funding to schools in England to be protected 
Budget will rise 0.1% in real terms each year, taking funding from £35bn to £39bn 
Spending on school buildings to fall 60%
£2.5bn “pupil premium” for teaching for disadvantaged pupils

The UK Knowledge Economy loan could eventually see up to £2bn invested in education facilities and science parks in the UK

The European Investment Bank is to invest £500m in further education facilities and science parks in the UK.

The UK Knowledge Economy loan will be passed to three banks, which will invest in higher and further education facilities, science parks and incubation centres.

The first £150m of lending has been agreed, with more lending expected next year when more banks come on board. The EIB said the programme could potentially be worth up to £2bn

The three banks so far involved are RBS, Santander and Lloyds.

Vince Cable, minister for innovation, said: “The science and research community is very successful at securing funding from a diverse range of sources, so this new loan facility will be a welcome addition to the options available for universities and science parks in the UK.”

MPs urge minister to toughen up school sprinkler requirements

Friday, June 5th, 2009

 - 48.09 KbMPs were divided on the progress of sprinklers in schools

A number of MPs have called for a tougher approach to sprinkler systems being fitted in schools after hearing that in spite of the government’s presumption that all new and refurbished schools should be fitted with them, implementation of the policy is varied and inconsistent.

The comments were made last month during a Westminster Hall debate, a non-binding, consensual forum for MPs.

Ian McCartney MP, who secured the debate, said that in spite of the schools’ minister’s previous comments which virtually gave an instruction to local authorities to install sprinklers, this was not happening across the board. “We have already built hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of new schools in the programme, and perhaps only one or two have been fitted with a sprinkler system.”

Mr McCartney urged the government to find a way to regulate so that no local authority is able to sign a contract, unless it precisely and clearly includes an instruction that sprinkler systems be fitted in all refurbished and new build schools.

While welcoming the increased emphasis on sprinklers in the schools’ fire safety document, Building Bulletin 100, the shadow minister for schools, Nick Gibb, said other measures were also needed. These included good security, better education programmes and a stronger sense of discipline in pupils.

Replying to the debate, schools’ minister Jim Knight pointed to a slight reduction since 2003 in the number of arson attacks and fires in schools. He said that the current version of the risk analysis tool in Building Bulletin 100 is more heavily weighted towards sprinklers, as the vast majority of schools will now be assessed as ‘average’ or ‘high’ risk. “The [government’s] position is now that sprinklers should always be installed in all new schools, except the very few schools if any that are assessed to be of ‘low’ risk and for which there is also no whole-life cost benefit.”

He said although it was difficult to judge impact of the new guidance as it was only introduced in 2007, the early indications were that whereas previously less than 10% of new schools had sprinklers installed, as many as 75% may now have them. “I would like to see the figure higher still, but it is clear that some progress is being made,” he added.

Metering for “switched on schools” in Northern Ireland

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

 

An innovative project involving the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and renewable energy streetlights, as well as metering and data services, has been implemented in forty educational establishments across rural Northern Ireland.

Energy and advanced smart metering firm, PRI, is providing the metering and data services for this NIE Energy (NIEE) project, named “Switched on Schools”.

For several years NIEE has worked on an ad hoc basis with the five Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards in installing renewable energy systems at schools throughout the region. Supported with European funding, a program approach evolved for achieving a thriving, sustainable rural community in Northern Ireland via increased awareness of PV technology.

The award-winning Switched on Schools project made this possible, and has enabled schools to appreciate how valuable energy is as a resource and how energy bills and CO2 emissions can be reduced. Spreading the carbon footprint reduction message to families and friends, pupils gained an understanding about renewable energy and monitoring online their solar power system.

PRI supplied the energy data services for remote collection, analysis and billing from the Spring XP and GSM top hat meter in each school involved.

Company sales and marketing manager Geoff Chapman explains: “Our meter and energy data service solution records the amount of energy used in each school and provides historical data for trend analysis. Significantly, this information is relayed to a central point for monitoring and interpretation.”

Data is collected and monitored from the customer’s equipment. Received data is presented in a pre-determined format appropriate to customer needs.

Installation across the forty schools enabled them to claim money from the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) system for the renewable energy produced. The NIEE generation tariff offers rewards for electricity exported back to the grid and ROCs.

Shortlist revealed for £4bn academies framework

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Partnerships for Schools has shortlisted 22 contractors for the hotly contested £4 billion academies ‘super framework’.

Construction giants including Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Kier are joined by firms scattered throughout the construction top 100.

Scunthorpe-based Clugston and Sheffiled-based Henry Boot – both of which have turnovers in the region of £125 million – made the 18-strong North and Midlands shortlist.

Abingdon-headquartered JB Leadbitter and East Sussex-based Rydon made the cut for the Southern and Eastern section. They are joined by Educinq, a joint venture of Osborne and Midas.

A total of 14 companies are shortlisted for both frameworks, including Willmott Dixon, Interserve and Wates.

A maximum of 12 contractors will be named on each framework, both of which are expected to be up and running by the end of the year.

Pre-qualification questionnaires were completed by a mammoth 57 companies. Contractors are desperate to be on the broadly-scoped framework, which has double the value of its predecessor at a time when work is hard to come by.

Partnerships for Schools chief executive Tim Byles said: “The interest in the new Contractors’ Framework from large and medium-sized companies across the country demonstrates how all sectors of the construction industry see this as a great opportunity, particularly at a time when conditions are challenging.

“With more than 127 Academies being delivered through BSF currently, and more than 100 more in the pipeline, the new Framework will enable contractors and suppliers from across the country to get involved in a scheme that has a predictable flow of work, supported by direct grant Government funding.”

The shortlisted companies:

Sector 1: North and the Midlands
Apollo
Balfour Beatty
BAM
Bovis
Bowmer & Kirkland
Carillion
Clugston
Galliford Try
Henry Boot
Interserve
Kier
Miller
Morgan Ashurst
Shepherd
Sir Robert McAlpine
Vinci
Wates
Willmott Dixon

Sector 2: London, the South and the South and East of England
Apollo
Balfour Beatty
BAM
Bovis
Carillion
Educinq
Galliford Try
Interserve
JB Leadbitter
Kier
Miller
Morgan Ashurst
Rydon
Sir Robert McAlpine
Vinci
Volker Fitzpatrick
Wates
Willmott Dixon