Sustainable Futures – An Insight

Tony Cahill, executive director at Vivark, part of the First Ark Group, gives his insights into creating a more flexible environment for schools this summer.

The pressure is on in the education sector. With a government commitment to providing an additional 878,000 school spaces by 2023 and a pledge to provide 500 more ‘free schools’ by 2020 to assist with the pressure posed to the sector.

However, much more can be done closer to home to help relieve the financial strain of maintaining an efficient, sustainable school.

Take a Step Back
Estates teams and other key decision makers should take a step back and think holistically about their existing space – which areas can be adapted to suit current and ongoing needs? This isn’t always an easy call to make, therefore it’s important to work with like-minded suppliers, particularly an expert design team, to establish the best course of action.

Think ahead
Refurbished or newly built space needs to be as flexible as possible to suit future requirements – as these will change over time. For example, being able to adapt a common area into a teaching space without the need for building work will be much easier if it’s considered as part of the initial brief.

Think holistically about what you already have
Schools often form the heart of a community, so could the works required include extending the use of the building for other activities outside of school opening times? Generating additional revenue and add great social value to the surrounding community by holding family-themed activities at a central, trusted hub.

Make your space as flexible as possible and work with partners that have the expertise and vision to transform your school.