Undertaking a new school building project is an exciting time, but raising the necessary funds can seem like a daunting task. Schools across Britain need to expand to meet demand from a rising population – recent reports have confirmed that two in every five councils across the UK will not have enough primary school places for the number of children who need them by September 2016. But once you’ve decided you need to invest in a new school building, how do you go about raising the funds?
FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS – LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Your first port of call should be your local authority to see what funding may be available. The Department of Education has allocated funding to local authorities through the Basic Need programme; this funding enables local authorities to provide new pupil places by expanding existing schools or establishing new schools. Recent funding allocations to local authorities were made in February 2015 which covers funding for 2017-18; this is designed to give enough time for local authorities to make the school places available by September 2018. There are also additional allocations of funding for the period 2015-17.
GRANTS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
With local authority funding under enormous pressure, it’s essential to research other funding opportunities. The good news is that there are plenty of options – some of the best known funders are the BBC Children In Need Main Grants Programme and Awards for All (England).
The BBC Children In Need Main Grants Programme awards grants of over £10,000 which can go towards design and build costs as well as furnishings and equipment. Applications would need to show how the new school building could improve the lives of children who are experiencing disadvantages including abuse, illness, disability or neglect beyond its statutory duty.
Awards for All (England) can offer grants of up to £10,000, though it’s advisable not to ask for the full amount and to show how funds would be matched from the school’s budget or PTA funds. Projects must show how the new school building ties in with the local community. The project would also need to provide extra opportunities for children beyond statutory requirement, so your new school building could also be used for after school clubs, sports activities or by community groups.
The website http://www.grants4schools.info contains more ideas on funding for schools as well as lots of invaluable information and tips to help get started.
Get your community involved
Once you’ve raised the bulk of the funds needed for the actual building project, you can launch a Community Fund to raise additional funds to equip your new classroom or school building. Raising money for tangible items like interactive whiteboards, tables, chairs or display materials will really help to engage parents, children and the local community. Our case study for Worstead school is a prime example of how a community pulled together to deliver vital additional space for teaching and learning with a Vertis school building. Schools are often at the heart of every community, so a Community Fund is a great way to get everyone involved.
Finally Vertis offer financial options for their clients to spread out the payments of a new modular school building. Where one-off payments may seem unachievable, spreading the cost over a period of time as an overhead rather than a large capital cost makes it far more achievable. Permanent modular school buildings are also a more sustainable and effective solution than temporary mobile classroom rentals and are custom made to meet the needs of each school.