What is an Estates Strategy?
We believe that in the education sector an Estates Strategy should provide a long term plan to guide the future development of the estate in a way that best meets the curriculum goals and ambitions of the school, College or University in a way that is both affordable and deliverable.
What difference can an Estates Strategy make?
Education Strategies are often required to support large scale new building projects. Having an up to date strategy is often a pre-requisite of LEP funding and helps to show how the capital project fits in with the wider skills, educational and financial case of the project.
Sometimes we write Estates Strategies for Colleges or Universities in financial strain where we are looking to reduce operating costs, release funds from the surplus estate and identify how to invest in the retained estates in a sustainable and affordable way.
A good Estates Strategy can help any education body make the most of its assets in support of its education vision and from our experience we often find options to re-purpose or remodel existing buildings in a way that transforms the learning environment without the cost, risk or timescales involved in delivering major new build projects.
How we work with clients to create an estates strategy
As a team of educationalists, space planners, project managers, cost consultants, designers and chartered accountants we know full well that building a long terms strategy involves putting together all of the pieces of the jigsaw in a way that reflects the unique position and vision of each client that we work with.
As part of our work on an Estates Strategy we review and analyse:
- Education Vision and Mission
- Historic Development of the Estate
- Space Requirements
- Condition & Functionality
- Local planning policies
We then develop a range of potential future options – from ‘do nothing’ through to complete estate replacement. We agree a set of evaluation criteria and weighting’s of these to allow us to assess each option. We then complete outline cost estimates and/or options for site disposal, and then, develop a programme for the delivery of the preferred option.
Through conducting a condition and functionality analysis we gain a holistic and detailed picture of the appropriateness of the estate to helping to deliver the educational mission and meet the needs of staff and learners.
Hand in hand with consultation with curriculum leaders we assess current and planned student numbers to build a comprehensive space brief. By reviewing the curriculum offer, understanding the external environment and context and taking into account scope for potential future growth; we are able to develop recommendations and plans for the future, considering options for the rationalisation and right-sizing of the estate.
We complete this work with a keen focus on achieving the organisations educational objectives sometimes as a stand-alone exercise to improve estate efficiency and reduce operational costs, or to support bids for funding, and plans for merge or, in some cases, to generate income to support the financial health of the organisation.
Educational organisations to which we have, or are currently working to develop Estates Strategies include:
- Capital City Colleges Group;
- Lambeth College and LSBU;
- Solent University and City College Southampton;
- Fareham College;
- St Vincent College;
- The Loddon School;
- Eastleigh College & City College Southampton;
- Havant & South Downs College & Alton College;
- London South East Colleges Group;
- Chichester University;
- The States of Guernsey Institute;
- Birmingham Metropolitan College;
- The Henley College;
- South Staffordshire College;
- Lincoln College;
- RNN Group; and,
- Weston College.
A sample of our recent Estates Strategy work can be viewed in more detail on one of the project pages below:
Estates Strategy Documents
Southampton Solent University
Eastleigh College and City College Southampton
University of Chichester
Birmingham Metropolitan College