Education Overview

Barker Associates is one of the country’s leading education property consultants.

Our experience covers a complete range of services from condition surveys through to major projects including the redevelopment of entire sites. We maintain a detailed knowledge of funding streams, government policy, education guidelines and initiatives related to the various types of educational establishment.

Barker Associates plays a proactive role in assisting pre-schools, primary, secondary and free schools, academies, colleges and universities to gain funding from any available streams and helps them to manage their property portfolio in the best possible way.

The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) supports projects that address compliance, health and safety issues, maintenance needs and expansion projects. Only projects that demonstrate a high project need and those that align with CIF priorities are likely to be successful.

At Barker Associates we work closely with our education clients to submit comprehensive bids carefully targeting the ESFA guidelines ensuring the best possible outcome for funding applications.

Barker Associates has an outstanding track record of successful CIF applications with several million pounds secured for our clients. We hold a success rate of 85% of all applications submitted on behalf of our clients.

“We are so grateful for all of your help with both of our bids, but perhaps most particularly the troublesome sports hall bid that the school had been trying to secure for several years, we are so so pleased!” - Wilmington Grammar School for Girls

Contact us today to discuss your bid.

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The Department for Education (DfE) and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have announced the results of the Appeals process for the 2018/19 Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). Only 36 Appeals were approved nationally. 

Barker Associates advised a number of Academies on their Appeals and are pleased to have secured a further £200,000 for their clients through this process. 

Please click 'More Information' for advice on Appeals and the best way forward for your future CIF bid submissions. 

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Whether you need a new building or an alteration to your existing site, Barker Associates can help. Our Architects and Surveyors will bring their experience and expertise to bear on your project to help you deliver the best environments for learning. We design innovative solutions and deliver them safely, allowing education to continue unhindered.

  • New build and extensions
  • Refurbishment and remodelling
  • Site development planning
  • Space planning, suitability and sufficiency surveys & BB103 analysis

Contact us to discuss your needs and arrange a no-obligation visit.

`Thank you so much for working so hard on our behalf and for ensuring that the project ran smoothly, to time and within budget.’ Henrietta Barnett School

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Maintaining your existing buildings and ensuring they meet statutory regulations is an essential function. Barker Associates can help and advise on all aspects from surveys and inspections to the design and management of maintenance works.

`Their bespoke service is personable, thorough and has exceeded our expectations. We would recommend them unreservedly.’ Academies Enterprise Trust

Contact us to discuss your needs and arrange a no-obligation visit.

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Barker Associates has been involved with Academies and Free Schools from their inception and provide advice on conversion and formation.

Barker Associates provides valuable and comprehensive strategic advice to Multi Academy Trusts (MATs). Our association with the MAT Capital Funding Network enables us to promote collaborative working and sharing of best practice. With constant changes in the education sector, navigating the complexities of capital maintenance funding is a major challenge for all those tasked with managing MATs. The role of the MAT Capital Funding Network is to support trusts to better manage their estates. The network is a collaboration of industry experts who share their operational expertise and advice with the Network's members.

Our innovative approach including the use of state-of-the art surveying tool Kykloud ensures MATs receive the most practical, value-for-money solutions.

Our AET case study demonstrates the success of our strategic advice and collaborative working. Our collaborative work with the Academies Enterprise Trust won us the PFM Partners in Consultancy Award. The Judges noted that:

‘Barker Associates has enabled the AET to reduce in numbers to be more efficient and focus on spending where it is required for schools and their pupils. They also batch work on properties to make it more cost effective. We saw an impressive example of the parties working together and delivering significant improvements as and when funding permitted.’

Contact us to discuss your needs and arrange a no-obligation visit.

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For schools that have identified the need to expand or modify their facilities, the means of funding is the next hurdle.  Often schools have exhausted other avenues for funding such as the ESFA Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) or Sport England bids when they turn their attention to their biggest financial asset, their buildings and associated land.

For most school management teams realising value from the land is difficult to visualise or indeed bring to life without professional support and advice.

Creating the opportunity

There are two categories of land belonging to schools, playing field and non-playing field land. 

Although the process for disposal of the land is broadly the same, the governance for the disposal of playing field use land is more rigorous. Legislation covering the protection of school playing fields is provided by Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, which not only protects existing playing fields which are still in use, but also any playing field which has not been used for such a purpose in the period 10 years before a disposal is sought. Both types of land, however, are evaluated based on the planned benefit for improving the school from the investment of the funds raised. 

The Secretary of State expects any net proceeds arising from the disposal of school land to be used wholly towards specific capital projects to improve, or enhance, sports or educational facilities. Applications for consent have to provide an assurance that proceeds will be ring-fenced for these purposes.

The process for disposal

As an initial step, a strategic estate plan is created that highlights the land for sale and determines the investment that will be made for school improvement.   This exercise is effectively a business case.

Once this has been completed, there is a need to identify the land that is most likely to be saleable by analysing the use of the entire school estate.  This is based on either a BB103 assessment or Section 77 areas guidance, which determine whether the school has sufficient space for the existing cohort, as well as for the forecasted requirements.

The Secretary of State for Education has final sanction over whether the land can be sold. They will consider the overall balance of benefit of the disposal against expected gains, to pupils and existing community users.  Making the case for the sale is presented to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) using standard documentation to ensure a consistent approach to decision making. 

The application needs not only to make a strong argument based on the school improvement plan, but must demonstrate that the due process for assessing ownership of the land has been evaluated by an RICS qualified surveyor.  For example if the land is leased from the local council, then permission has to be granted for the sale.

Playing field planning

The sale of playing fields is subject to stringent planning regulations.  The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these can be applied.  It provides a framework within which local people and the local council can produce their own distinctive local and neighbourhood plans.  

Sport England has also set out a policy relating to the loss of playing field land that requires any likely loss of a playing field to be replaced with equivalent or better quality and quantity. Prior to the release of land, the council and Sport England need to be satisfied with the schools plan for improvement.

Delivering value

Once the approval has been granted then the real work begins.  Furthering the development opportunities and working collaboratively with owners and adjoining landowners to de-risk development schemes, ensuring that the valuation is met for the sale and in the case of a resultant construction or refurbishment project, that the programme of works is delivered require specialist skills and experience.

Barker Associates work in partnership with Stanley Hicks specialists in school land sales. Contact us for further information.

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Education Team

Key Contact

Stuart White
Managing Partner
01279 648058

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Stuart White
Managing Partner
Robert Gould
Michael Merrill
Richard Paynter
Partner | Architect
William Bidewell
Stephen Lee
Associate Partner
John Lewin
Associate Partner
James Johnson
Associate Partner
Colin Chastell
Associate Partner | Structural Engineer
Daniel Bowler
Associate Partner | Quantity Surveyor
Elizabeth Humphries
Associate Partner
Aaron Freeman
Christopher Cook
Philippa Reed
Edwin O' Connell
Senior Project Manager
Adrian Browning
Senior Surveyor
Calum Torpey
Cem Orhan
Colin Deans
Senior Architectural Technologist
Craig Johnston
Architectural Assistant
David Mugliston
Geoffrey Chapman
Graham Stephen
Architect | Facilities & Maintenance
Guy Davies
Harry Breeden
Trainee Architect
James Walker
James Wilson
Senior Surveyor
Juan Martinez
Karl Curnock
Senior Surveyor
Marcus Wood
Martin Snook
Senior Surveyor
Neil Radley
Senior Surveyor
Noor Shameel
Marketing and Business Development
Patrycja Pawlik
Interior Architectural Designer
Peter Trower
Architectural Assistant
Rick Broadley
Sami Orhan
Quantity Surveyor
Scott Crozier
Trainee Surveyor
Stephen Denton
Senior Quantity Surveyor
Stephen Medhurst
Quantity/Building Surveyor
Stephen Wyard
Senior Architect
Thomas Auger
Quantity Surveyor
Thomas Evans
Trainee Building Surveyor
Thomas Jones
Thomas Lynch