For many schools, expansion is the only option to accommodate a growing pupil population. But finding the cash to fund a major construction project isn’t easy. Nevertheless, there are several opportunities for schools to access funding and plan their budgets efficiently when managing an expansion project.
FIND OUT IF YOU’RE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING OR FINANCIAL SUPPORT
The first step is to discover which, if any, sources of funding may be open to you. In March 2018, the Government announced a cash boost of £500 million for schools who wish to expand to create extra pupil places, so if you are an academy or sixth-form college, the Condition Improvement Fund is an avenue worth exploring.
Other grants might be forthcoming from your local authority, charitable foundations, corporate sponsors or local community funds. If you are offered a lower sum of money than hoped, don’t worry: it’s often more effective to collect smaller amounts from a larger number of donors, than to focus on securing a single, big grant from just one source.
Don’t forget to take advantage of any budget-friendly finance options that would allow you to spread the cost of your project over a number of years.
PLAN A FUNDRAISING DRIVE
Use your PTA to plan a series of fundraising events to drum up financial support for the school expansion. This will help to publicise the improvements that you are planning, as well as getting parents and pupils on board with the fundraising effort. People who are already invested in the future of your school will be highly motivated to help combat overcrowding and improve facilities for their children and others. You’ll be surprised at how much income can be generated in this way, so don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned fundraising.
PLAN A LOW-COST CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
It’s important to use what budget you have effectively, especially if you have a lot of fundraising to do. If you haven’t yet decided on the type of extension you are going to build, money may be the deciding factor – but that doesn’t mean you need to settle for an inferior product.
A cost-effective modular construction will help you to save money on your school budget and provide excellent value for money. With much of the work completed off-site, you’ll also be able to carry on with school life as usual, only bringing in the builders during the school holidays.
Factor in maintenance costs
School budget planning needs to address long-term costs as well as any initial outlay. Is your proposed project financially sustainable over a period of years? One consideration will be how much your finished school expansion costs to maintain in the long-run. Is it likely to require regular maintenance? If so, this all needs to be included in your plans. Energy costs are another factor to take into account. A modular school building from Green Modular is highly energy efficient and needs minimal maintenance, making it a budget-friendly choice both now and for generations to come.