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This conference examined the next steps for school buildings and the education estate in England.
It was a timely opportunity to consider progress on the DfE’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, and its aim of achieving net zero school estates.
Stakeholders and policymakers also discussed the delivery of the School Rebuilding Programme, with 239 more schools to be awarded funding under the scheme.
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with the Department for Education on:
- priorities for the School Rebuilding Programme
- energy management
- the development of nature-based learning and outdoor spaces
Delegates reviewed the implementation of the rebuilding programme so far and how lessons learned can inform further rollout, including effectively prioritising areas and schools with the greatest need, and accelerating the delivery of funding and refurbishment.
Further sessions discussed priorities for the modernisation and retrofit of existing buildings to meet environmental standards, as well as the development of Climate Action Plans to improve resilience and implement decarbonisation programmes.
Attendees also considered the design and development of new build estates, including key issues for building safety, meeting new resilience and sustainability criteria, and incorporating new technologies and systems into energy management, IT and construction.
Overall, sessions in the agenda included:
- the School Rebuilding Programme: progress and next steps
- implementation: prioritising new projects | accelerating delivery | building standards | working with local partners | mitigating risk
- building safety: priorities for improvement and monitoring
- energy consumption: supporting schools to measure, manage and reduce their carbon footprint
- decarbonising existing schools: climate action plans | education opportunities | decarbonisation solutions | sustainable procurement | improving climate resilience
- green spaces: developing nature-based classrooms | provision of outdoor spaces
- net zero schools: design and construction | reducing energy use | integrating sustainable systems | planning for future challenges | sustainable procurement and land use | providing green spaces
The conference was an opportunity for the stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from Defra; DfE; DESNZ; and the NAO.