The future of building schools

A debate about how the public and private sector can work more closely together to deliver the educational needs of our communities took place following the LGA conference. It highlighted the importance of creating a positive learning environment for our children, which helps to increase pupils’ enjoyment and engagement.

During the debate, Andrew Alsbury, Education Sector Director for Willmott Dixon asked the question, “what does a good primary school look like?". He then gave a brief summary outlining the requirements for school designs to meet basic needs, which consider:

  • Natural light which increases pupils’ attention span and ability to concentrate
  • Ventilation to allow children to breathe fresh air and be comfortable
  • Acoustics so that pupils can clearly hear what is being said by the teacher

Sunesis schools not only meet the basic need of providing well designed schools for children to enjoy learning in, they also deliver exceptional whole-life-performance efficiency. A recent study by Willmott Dixon found that the Sunesis new-build primary schools’ performance exceeded the design targets set by the Education Funding Authority (EFA). This demonstrates their sustainability and low-energy usage compared to more traditional design solutions.

Dawn Baxendale, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council has commissioned three Sunesis schools and explained the need to provide an environment where our children thrive and fulfil their potential before speaking about her experience.

The Sunesis model delivered the exact results we were hoping for, the children and teachers love their environments. Our schools were also constructed by real people, doing real jobs, from our local area and they still look great several years after they were built

Dawn Baxendale, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council

Whilst building schools and investing in the future of our children is essential, so too is giving the same opportunities to children in other countries. Sunesis is proud to be working in partnership with the charity Building Schools for Africa, whose Founding Trustees, Ian and Marianne Johnson also spoke at the LGA event. They gave a moving account of the poor conditions in which African children are learning, and the need for upgrading or replacing dilapidated, poorly designed school buildings became even clearer.

Ian explained, "Education is the greatest gift you can give a child and educated children are the world's greatest asset, yet 57 million children in the world still do not go to school and more than half of these live in rural sub-Saharan Africa."

Our partnership with Sunesis is very exciting because each school they donate will bring real hope and development to the remote, rural communities of Cameroon and a brighter future for thousands of children

Ian Johnson, Founding Trustee of Building Schools for Africa

Sunesis have pledged to donate a school in Africa for every school that is commissioned in the UK through the School-for-a-school programme.