A brand new school in 7 steps – Step 1: Identifying a need


School building is changing. From extra classrooms to entirely new schools, pre-designed buildings are enabling local authorities and developers to deliver the facilities communities need, quickly and with complete cost certainty.

In our new blog series, we’re looking at the process step by step, showing you just how straightforward providing additional school places can be. Today we’re starting with Step 1: Identifying a need.

With an estimated 366,000 extra school places needed across the UK by 2020, it’s never been more important to build quality schools quickly, efficiently and innovatively.

Traditionally, school building has been a complex, time-consuming process. Every school is unique and therefore the architectural wheel is reinvented each time a new school is built: with the cumulative lessons learnt from one school not necessarily transferred to the next. Today, specialists in pre-designed buildings such as Sunesis are changing that. By developing a kit-of-parts approach to school building, we’re delivering outstanding, pupil and teacher focused learning environments, while dramatically reducing time, cost and risk.

If you’re a local authority…

The ever-increasing need for school places is a constant challenge. But securing the right delivery partner can help smooth that journey, from the very earliest stages.

As soon as you complete your School Capacity Survey each July, you’ll be forming a picture of pupil growth numbers and identifying any shortfall in places. Even before the ESFA confirms your funding, we can help you to identify sites for expansions and new builds, giving you the up-front costs that you can rely on and design options you need to be ready when your funding is available.

Step 1 actions:

  • Calculate your school place shortfall
  • Explore potential build sites
  • Ask for costs and free initial design options

If you’re a housing developer…

Choosing a pre-designed school can help you retain more control over your development – and secure significant cost savings.

If your housing development is large enough it will be subject to either the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) or Section 106 contributions. But as a developer, you have a choice. If you want to avoid these contributions, you can build a school yourself. As a housing expert, you might feel you haven’t got the knowledge or specialist supply chain you need. But we can help.

Pre-designed schools are incredibly time and cost effective, and because they’re increasingly built offsite, they minimise disruption to your development. They can be customised to suit your vision for the development and they’ll usually cost you less than CIL or Section 106 payments. Sunesis schools are delivered for a guaranteed fixed cost and can be constructed in as little as 26 weeks, giving you and your stakeholder absolutely certainty from the start.

Step 1 actions:

  • Calculate your CIL or Section 106 contribution
  • Consider the benefits and risks of delivering your own school
  • Identify the potential cost savings

Whether you’re a local authority or a private developer, if you’re weighing up your school build options, at Sunesis we’re ready to help. We’re education specialists with a genuine understanding of the pressures you’re under, and we’re always happy to talk new projects through. If you’d like to find out more, just call us on 07950 717 804 or email

Next week: Step 2: Enquiring 

Lego Goes Here