New handbook for schools and education bodies to navigate the development process in a way that follows best practice and achieves a successful outcome.

LocatED has today published Development of School Land, a document that aims to help schools and other state-funded education bodies navigate the complex issue of development.

It provides practical advice to individuals and organisations with responsibilities for education buildings or land when considering development opportunities. It is intended to help guide the progress of development projects and deliver successful outcomes.

The document sets out four stages to the development process, explaining how to navigate site assessments, stakeholder engagement, feasibility assessments and delivery. Covering complex issues from legal matters and planning considerations to site surveys and Secretary of State approvals, the document draws on the extensive expertise of LocatED’s property professionals.

LocatED Chief Executive, Lara Newman said:

“In recent years, we’ve seen growing demand from education leaders for our help in unlocking potential in their school estates. This document provides and easy-to-use guide for schools embarking on that journey.

Head of Estates Efficiency and Net Zero at LocatED, Will Attlee said:

Advice on education estates is never one-size-fits-all. Each school, multi-academy trust or local authority faces their own unique set of property challenges that can often be a significant burden. While schools and responsible bodies should always look for alternative funding options prior to disposing, development of this kind can free up resources. Our intention with this handbook is to help them navigate the development process in a way that follows best practice and achieves a successful outcome. If a school can generate capital receipts for re-investment in their estate in the form of new or improved buildings, this will help deliver better learning environments for pupils.”

The English school estate, at an estimated 50,000 Hectares represents one of the country’s single largest land holdings. Ownership across the estate is disparate, with the Secretary of State holding less than 1% and the remaining land split between local authorities, multi academy trusts, diocesan boards of education and other education trusts.

The disposal of publicly funded education land requires the Secretary of State’s prior consent (or in some cases notification to the Secretary of State). This includes both playing field land and non-playing field land (e.g. buildings). This guide will help schools to navigate the approval process required and help maximise the value of land once Secretary of State approval is given.

To read the full document, please visit here.