The Building Schools for the Future programme has always been committed to the refurbishment of existing school buildings or other suitable premises where appropriate (News January 15) — and there are numerous examples so far, such as Elm Court School in Lambeth, which have given a new life into historic local landmarks

BSF works on the model of allocating funding for 50% new build; 35% major refurbishment; and 15% minor remodelling. To date, local authority plans suggest that just over 41% of schools will be newly built, and we anticipate this balancing out throughout the course of the programme.

Schools open to date are mainly new build as these are typically the schools that local authorities tackle first, with their refurbishment schools following later. New-build schools are replacing the schools that are in worst condition and are no longer fit for purpose. Their students, teachers and local communities are now benefiting from facilities fit for the 21st century and are testament to the difference BSF can make.

Tim Byles
Partnerships for Schools

Letters to the Editor - 22 January 2009