The Priority School Building Programme (PSBP1 and PSBP2) is a two-wave, £4.4 billion UK Government scheme aimed at refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country. The scheme only covers the modernisation of physical buildings; technology and front of class displays require additional budget. But if your school is selected, you can still maximise the opportunity to install the latest edtech in your new classrooms, without it being included in the upgrade.
Schools included in the PSBP2 grant allocation have a unique opportunity to seamlessly update their ICT equipment. By having new technology installed as part of the scheme, even if it’s slightly ahead of schedule, schools can significantly reduce future costs and disruption.
When is PSBP happening?
Phase one is now being finalised; the first PSBP refurbished school opened in April 2014 and most will be open by the end of 2017.
In 2015, 277 successful applicants were announced for the second phase of the programme, PSBP2. The new buildings will be reopened by 2021, so in many cases it’s still the planning phase. For schools included, now is the ideal time to capitalise on the disruption, allowing you to advise your construction companies well in advance and effortlessly deploy more advanced edtech in your new building.
While new tech will require additional budget, doing so simultaneously will minimise total costs, improve your school’s reputation and staff retention, and enhance your teachers’ abilities to deliver exceptional learning.
The end result? Improved school attainment levels and pupil performance well into the future.
What is covered?
The capital grant used in the PSBP2 refurbishments will cover an upgrade to some of your school’s physical infrastructure, decanting and reinstalling the relevant technology, and construction and building work. Bear in mind that, within your included decant and reinstallation, there’s no need to reinstall the same kit.
What’s more, decanting and reinstalling legacy equipment can be a risk. If the devices have been in situ for many years, there’s a chance that the disruption could cause breakages or removal and handling could cause usage problems for future.
While the grant does cover budget for ICT breakages, you’ll only receive like-for-like equipment in return.
What should you do next?
If you’ve decided that upgrading your technology along with your infrastructure with PSBP2 is the best approach, you’ll need to act reasonably quickly to ensure the refit is a seamless as possible.
Research into the most appropriate kit for your school’s needs, and ensure your contractors are aware of the upgrade. Technology companies like Promethean often give you a free consultation while you decide which education technology to adopt. If you’re still unclear, arranging a free demo and orientation will give you the hands on experience to explore and decide if an interactive tablet experience is right for your school.
Finally, have your chosen edtech specifications to hand. Or even better — put all your technology suppliers and ICT installers in contact so they can liaise directly. This will remove the complexity for you and ensure they take the necessary steps to move power, cabling or mounting for your edtech. Promethean always works with your contractors directly to ensure your entire PSBP2 upgrade is as cost-effective and successful as possible.
In a landscape of limited school budgets, tacking on a technology upgrade to your infrastructure enhancement will allow you to get the most from the capital grant, improve your school attainment levels and future-proof your institution from the inside, out.