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Frequently Asked QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions


Below is a list of frequently asked questions that have been asked about Building Schools for the Future. The list will be regularly added to as we move through the programme, but if you can’t find the answer you want, or you can think of any questions and answers you feel should be included please contact the BSF Team

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Building Schools for the Future (BSF)


What is BSF?


At its simplest Building Schools for the Future is a national programme to improve secondary school buildings across England.Billions of pounds of investment will be made available across the country over a 15 year period, to provide all children and young people with educational facilities fit for the 21st Century.However BSF is much more than a building programme.Through BSF local authorities and schools will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to design learning spaces that support educational reforms to transform teaching and greatly increase both learning and community opportunities, for the whole community to enjoy.


How can I get more involved in BSF?


Information on public events and activities can be found in the local press, the shuttle and under theeventssection of this site. We’re always looking for new ways to discuss the BSF programme and hear your views, so if you have any ideas we’d love to hear from you.Contact BSF.


Why has Blackburn with Darwen joined up with Bolton Council?


By joining forces the task of finding high quality private sector partners to rebuild and remodel schools in both authorities is made easier, as the larger joint programme is more attractive to potential bidders.By sharing resources costs are greatly reduced, but most importantly by working together expertise and knowledge can be shared to enhance programme results.


How will BSF be delivered?


BSF will be delivered through a Local Education Partnership (LEP).


What is a Local Education Partnership (LEP)?


A LEP is a public, private sector partnership.A joint venture company is formed with the successful private sector partner, the Local Authority, or authorities, and Partnerships for Schools (the Government’s BSF delivery agency).The LEP is responsible for the delivery of the BSF programme.


How will the Local Education Partnership, private sector partner be selected?


The preferred private sector partner will be selected following a process called ‘competitive dialogue’. Competitive dialogue is an intense procurement exercise (Procurement:process of choosing the most suitable organisation to deliver a service) that has been developed to support the appointment of quality private sector partners with the capacity to deliver complex public, private sectorpartnership programmes, like BSF.The process involves a number of stages of dialogue and bids are evaluated by ‘cross cutting’ teams, made up of Local Authority officers, school staff, experts in different fields and other key partners.The process takes approximately eighteen months to complete from start to finish.


What are ‘super schools’?


The term ‘super schools’ is most commonly used by the media and tends to conjure images of large schools, with very high pupil numbers.Schools in Blackburn with Darwen will need to increase slightly in size to accommodate future pupil numbers, but the increase will not be massive.The current average number of pupil places across our schools is 975, and this is expected to change to an average of 1100 once BSF is completed.


Why are school closures necessary?


To secure funding the government requires that all BSF authorities review their pupil place needs for the future. The pattern of provision in the future needs to be sustainable, that means there needs to be enough pupil places in the right locations to meet need.


Will BSF funding be affected by the credit crunch?

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has given assurances that the programme’s funding is secured and has not been affected by the current economic climate.  Each of the bidders have expressed their commitment to ensuring the positive, wider economic impact that BSF promises to bring to Bolton, through working with local supply chains, creating opportunities through further education and bringing jobs to local people. 


Where can I get more information on BSF?


There are lots of really useful online sites that can provide information on BSF and education reforms in general, please find links below.  If you have a specific question you’d like answered, please contact the BSF Team.


Education Transformation


What is the 14-19 agenda?


The 14-19 agenda will see the introduction of many more vocational, work orientated, diplomas which will provide students with the opportunity to gain qualifications locally in areas like construction, healthcare and sports, in real world working environments.


What does the term personalised learning mean?


Learning and development opportunities will be tailored to an individual’s needs, ability and preferred learning style.Delivery will be far more flexible and supported by state of the art information communication technology (ICT).


What does inclusion of all pupils really mean?


Increasing and improving opportunities for all children, regardless of their needs, to successfully learn alongside their peers in mainstream schools.


How will Building Schools for the Future support changes to improve education?


In addition to a highly trained and supported staff, successful delivery will require well designed buildings that are flexible and suitably equipped.This is where the BSF programme fits in, to ensure that buildings are:


  •  in the right location
  •  inspirational and welcoming
  •  accessible, yet safe and secure
  •  adaptable to meet changing needs
  •  well equipped and fit for purpose
  •  sustainable and environmentally friendly


Improving education seems to focus on underachievers.How will BSF help children who are really bright?


BSF will enable us to provide a broader range of learning opportunities for all young people.This will give young people a greater choice of qualifications and allow us to ‘stretch’ more able students by offering more challenging, flexible programmes of study.Through the provision of a broader range of programmes and varied, excellent learning environments we expect that all young people will be able to reach their full potential.


I’m worried about the safety of children travelling from one site to another to access specialist subjects.What will be done to keep them safe?


All schools in Blackburn with Darwen, together with local colleges and Training 2000, are working closely together to develop new learning arrangements for 14-19 year olds.All of these learning organisations are committed to developing opportunities that are enjoyable, challenging and safe.Together we are committed to providing safe and secure arrangements for all students in Blackburn with Darwen.


BSF plans are under-pinned by the need to deliver personalised learning.A key aspect of personalised learning is to ensure that all young people receive the required levels of support appropriate to their needs.This support will be available to students taking into account that they may learn in more than one ‘learning centre’.


Extended Services


What are extended services?


Extended services is the term used for the wide number of new services that will be available in schools for use by the whole community and not just pupils.These will include community access to social, educational, recreational, sport and health services, at or near school sites.


Why have extended services at schools, why don’t you improve existing facilities?


Education is a national and local priority that has already seen considerable investment go into schools.Many existing community facilities are beyond their working lives, are under used and require expensive refurbishment, reducing their viability.Schools are at the heart of our communities making them best placed to offer improved services that meet local needs, for the benefit of pupils and the wider community.


I’m worried about the security implications, posed by community access at schools.What will be done to ensure child safety?


Children will continue to be supervised as normal and robust security systems will be put in place to support this.


Schools should be for learning, won’t this result in watered down teaching and services?


Schools already offering extra services have found that they can support and complement the main teaching and learning activities within the school and that they help to raise standards.


Pupil well being and standards go hand in hand.Providing extended services in schools can help identify barriers to learning early on and can reduce the burden on teachers by dealing with pupils’ wider problems, leaving teachers to concentrate on teaching.


I agree with providing community facilities locally, but won’t this be an additional burden for teaching staff?


Schools will ensure that only the most appropriate people develop and deliver extended services such as health and social workers and local sports and arts organisations. There is no expectation that teachers will deliver these additional services.


Will services offered genuinely be what local people want?


The Children’s Act 2002 requires schools to consult with pupils, staff, parents and carers, local communities and the local authority to ensure the services they develop are shaped around the needs of pupils and their local community.If a need is identified that can be addressed through the delivery of a service or activity on the school site it will be considered. However, the school will not provide extended services that compete or duplicate an existing community provision.Schools will only develop services that complement their values, vision and ethos.


Construction and planning


When will building work on schools start?.


Construction work will start on the first schools in 2010 and it is expected that work on all schools in the programme will be completed by 2015


Won’t all this building work disrupt children’s education?


The council are aware that such a major programme of change requires effective management, so is working closely with key partners and stakeholders, including schools, to ensure that disruption to pupils, staff and the community is kept to an absolute minimum, during the programme.


I live near one of the schools that will be subject to building work and would like to see any building plans?


The Building Schools for the Future programme is in the process of selecting a preferred partner to deliver the programme, and as such there are no firm building plans for the scheme, at this time. As the procurement phase progresses and proposed designs are developed, they will be shared with the public, and will be subject to the usual planning application processes and statutory consultation requirements.


I’m a local supplier and feel we have something to offer the programme, what should I do?


The Local Education Partnership, the delivery vehicle for the BSF programme, will be responsible for the selection and management of the supply chain.The preferred partner will be selected in September 2009 and details will be announced in the local press and will be listed on this site.In the meantime you can send an outline of your company/services to bsf@blackburn.gov.uk these will be passed to the selected partner on appointment.

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