Date published: September 14, 2016
In an article written by journalist Joey Gardiner (@JoeyGardiner) in Issue 35 of Building Magazine, he points out that according to the Government’s estimates and based on the UK’s rising population, 600,000 new school places (a 20% increase on today) will be needed before the end of the parliament.
It is recognised that this cannot be simply solved by building new schools and existing schools will have to play their part through modernisation and expansion.
However, it is also acknowledged that there is a huge maintenance backlog in the existing school’s estate and funding is not meeting the need. Whittle believe they offer a solution to local authorities, academy trusts, academia and schools to deal with maintenance backlog, with its industry leading maintenance painting programmes. Whittle offer an even spread of payments over the lifetime of the programme, which could be 5-10 years. This means the initial maintenance work is done in ‘Year One’ without the need to fund a huge capital outlay. Ongoing service visits for the lifetime of the programme also ensure that the facility is always looking fresh.
The programme has been in the UK since 2001 and has already been used by over 500 schools throughout the UK. Examples of our work can be found here – details on the programme model are explained here.
Stephen Hankinson, Group Chief Executive of Whittle said “The programme model was used extensively in Australia and New Zealand to directly address their maintenance backlog. In that situation the opportunity was offered directly by the education authority, but in the UK Whittle have been unable to interest the Department for Education and the Education Funding Agency, and have been told to deal directly with main contractors on frameworks or directly with schools. Unfortunately, this is not the most efficient way to get our programme offering known. Whittle are keen to play their part in providing a solution but are having to work hard to spread our message to the education sector”.