Estate management planning for schools – why is it so important?

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Estate management planning for schools – why is it so important?

With operational costs soaring and many schools being asked to do more with less, estate management planning is being pushed to the top of the agenda. And rightly so, when schools are facing economic and climatic turmoil, creating a comprehensive estate management plan can help them save money, generate revenue and deliver better educational experiences.

What is school estate management planning? 

School estate management planning is a short- to medium-term plan (over three to five years) that sets out how you will make better use of your school buildings, grounds and facilities. The first step is to think about your goals and what you need from your estate to achieve them. You can then put a plan in place to help you get there. 

A school estate management plan will help you:

  • Create a safe environment for teachers and students
  • Stay compliant with building rules and regulations
  • Reduce your costs through the efficient use of your resources
  • Meet future capacity and educational needs
  • Plan and target your spending 
  • Identify future funding needs and capitalise on the streams that are available

The Department for Education’s Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) guide details the risks of not putting an estate management plan in place, including:

  • Safety risks to the building users
  • Poor investment decisions
  • The inefficient use of space
  • Disruption to teaching areas and the day-to-day running of your school 

Read our guide to Good Estate Management for Schools

How can estate management planning boost school finances?

As well as safety and compliance, one of the biggest benefits of estate management planning is the impact it can have on your finances. 

It’s often the case that schools have buildings and facilities that are underutilised and do not provide value. Part of your estate management plan could be to sell those assets. Alternatively, you might identify buildings and facilities that you rent out but not at market value, or assets that you can develop or use differently to generate more revenue. 

One often overlooked aspect of school estates is the business rates that apply to your buildings. Schools and colleges do not always access all the rates relief available to them. It’s also the case that the liabilities that do apply are sometimes incorrect. Identifying and appealing these business rates overcharges can be an effective way to reduce your outgoings. 

How can you put an estate management plan in place?

Once you know your plans and ambitions for your estate, you can conduct a physical walkabout, combined with desk research, to perform an assessment of your buildings and get a better grasp of the challenges you face.  

The current condition of your buildings is important, but your assessment should take in much more than that. You should also consider:

  • Compliance requirements now and in the future
  • Demands on preventive and reactive maintenance
  • The use of your space
  • Capacity planning
  • Future demands on the estate
  • Carbon management 

Based on your findings, you can present a detailed, tailored and costed set of recommendations to the school’s leadership team. This process can be complex, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our multi-discipline team includes surveyors, architects, valuers, and acquisition and disposal specialists who work together to deliver robust estate management plans that help you achieve your goals. We can also conduct strategic reviews as your circumstances change. 

Find out more about estate management planning for schools and get in touch for a free consultation with our team.  

Contact Eddisons Education

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