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Publication - Report

Updating of the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards)(Scotland) Regulations 1967: consultation response analysis

Published: 26 Feb 2018
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781788516297

Analysis of responses from the consultation on Updating the School Premises Regulations (General Requirements and Standards)(Scotland) Regulations 1967.

64 page PDF

3.9 MB

64 page PDF

3.9 MB

Contents
Updating of the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards)(Scotland) Regulations 1967: consultation response analysis
Regulations which we proposed to remove

64 page PDF

3.9 MB

Regulations which we proposed to remove

Question 12 - General Requirements. Do you agree this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 13: Question 12 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 15 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 1 1 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 23 2 15 40
% of organisations answering 92% 8% 100%
Individuals 17 2 18 37
% of individuals answering 89% 11% 100%
All respondents 40 4 33 77
% of all respondents 52% 5% 43% 100%
% of all those answering 91% 9% 100%

A majority of respondents, 91% of those answering the question, agreed that the General Requirements Regulation can be removed. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (92% and 89% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 12, 4 went on to make further comments.

Only one independent school respondent who agreed with the proposal to remove the general requirements Regulation went on to make a further comment. They suggested that if independent schools were included, it should be made clear that the legal authority for commissioning new works lies within the autonomous Governing Body of the school, and not with any other national body.

All other comments were from organisational and individual respondents who were not in agreement and were particularly concerned with safeguarding governance and ensuring sufficient scrutiny was in place when high cost infrastructure decisions were made. Key themes included:

  • The increasing challenge placed on local authorities to control their future spending priorities because of entering into PPI / PFI contracts; and the view that the associated contractual protections and guarantees built into these schemes are draining revenue budgets. The principles of best value have been undermined in such arrangements and the corresponding legacy has been the creation of too many inferior school buildings. It is therefore deemed important that Education Authorities should be required to seek written approval from Ministers who can retain oversight before the commencement of any new build or extension to an existing school at a cost more than 1 million.
  • It was suggested that there is a need to establish agreed national standards for quality and inspection of completed works and their maintenance, particularly considering recent building standards issues in schools within Edinburgh and other local authorities. It was considered essential that the Minister can choose to scrutinise before approval, especially where local authorities may decide to approve building or funding in ways not currently anticipated.
  • Some concern was expressed about school buildings being the responsibility of the local authorities, whilst there was a perception that what happens in them is removed from their control.

Question 13 - Sites for Primary and Secondary Schools. Do you agree that this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 14: Question 13 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 2 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 3 2 5
Local Authority 14 1 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 1 1 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 20 6 14 40
% of organisations answering 77% 23% 100%
Individuals 11 6 20 37
% of individuals answering 65% 35% 100%
All respondents 31 12 34 77
% of all respondents 40% 16% 44% 100%
% of all those answering 72% 28% 100%

A majority of respondents, 72% of those answering the question, agreed that the Sites for Primary and Secondary Schools Regulation can be removed. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (77% and 65% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 13, 12 went on to make further comments.

Only two comments were received from respondents who agreed that the Regulation can be removed. These were to confirm that ministerial approval would be preferable before building commences under Regulation 4, and that further guidance and detail would be beneficial in the case that the Regulation is removed.

Responses from those not in agreement with removal were received from land and greenspace, local authority, trade union and individuals. The most common theme to be raised was that of stipulating the size of the school estate so a shared standard is adhered to. The agreement on a minimum size for school grounds would safeguard against schools being ‘squeezed’ into sites not big enough or building multi-floored facilities that cause congestion issues for the local community. It was also seen to be useful to retain a standard space per child to prevent such difficulties from happening.

The need for sufficient additional areas for car parking is not covered in the existing Regulations and this was seen to illustrate the need for statutory guidance and Regulations on the overall size of the site. If the Regulation was removed, there was a sense that the situation could be exploited and will lead to inconsistencies across local authorities.

The second most commonly raised issue was that of safeguarding outdoor space and the ability for children to play. Land and greenspace respondents were more likely to comment on this. There was a strong view that the Regulation should not be removed unless Regulation 20 specifies the minimum area for play provision over and above the pitch provision. External play areas were considered poorly protected under Regulation 7 and without minimum area guidance there was a concern that outdoor play space will lose out against other competing priorities. Rather than removing the Regulation it was thought preferable to ensure local authorities provided outdoor space of both suitable size and quality at all times. This should include access to natural space for physical health and mental wellbeing as well as learning. Children of all ages need access to garden space not only nursery based children. The role of active play in combating childhood obesity and improving health was reiterated as was the inequality that existed in areas of deprivation.

Question 14 - Playroom accommodation in nursery schools and classes. Do you agree that this Regulation and all other reference to ELC within the Regulations is no longer required and can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 15: Question 14 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 1 1 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 13 2 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 2 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 23 4 13 40
% of organisations answering 85% 15% 100%
Individuals 14 4 19 37
% of individuals answering 78% 22% 100%
All respondents 37 8 32 77
% of all respondents 48% 10% 42% 100%
% of all those answering 82% 18% 100%

A majority of respondents, 82% of those answering the question, agreed that the Playroom accommodation in nursery schools and classes Regulation and all other references to Early Learning and Childcare ( ELC) within the Regulations is no longer required and can be removed. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (85% and 78% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 14,10 went on to make further comments.

Only 2 respondent comments agreed that all references to ELC provision within the Regulations were no longer required, and could be removed. Parallel systems of Regulation were seen to have the potential to lead to duplication and confusion. It was however stated that whichever system is retained a minimum size for play rooms should be made explicit. Sufficient protection should also be in place to ensure the Care Inspectorate continues to apply the necessary Regulations set out. Agreement to remove this Regulation was also on the provision that the principles were unambiguously defined elsewhere.

The most frequently raised theme was in relation to the ‘Space to Grow’ guidance and the consultation stance that early years facilities will be sufficiently covered under this strategy. The guidance in ‘Space to Grow’ is not considered detailed enough and there is a question as to whether it includes all facilities requirements such as clear guidance on space standards in individual rooms. The document is seen to be aspirational but short of sufficient detail, and that there is no conflict in retaining such detail in the general school Regulations. There were several concerns that ‘Space to Grow’ is not mandatory and could lead to varying levels of accommodation. It was seen to be preferable to have all legislative standards relating to education facilities included within the current Regulation. Regulation was seen to offer a required level of protection.

Much was seen to have changed within early learning settings, but legislation was still required to increase its profile, and ensure the existence of outdoor play areas for young people. The stipulation of a minimum outdoor space requirement was considered important.

The second most frequently raised theme was that a more consistent approach to the application of standards in early years provision was required and this was seen to be preferable to ‘scrapping the rules’. It was felt that early years facilities in a school or within a school ground needed to have complimentary Regulations and cannot be in conflict or separately regulated when building a new school.

Question 15 - Kitchen Premises – Do you agree that this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 16: Question 15 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 1 3 5
Local Authority 15 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 1 1 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 23 4 13 40
% of organisations answering 85% 15% 100%
Individuals 15 1 21 37
% of individuals answering 94% 6% 100%
All respondents 38 5 34 77
% of all respondents 49% 6% 44% 100%
% of all those answering 88% 12% 100%

A majority of respondents, 88% of those answering the question, agreed that the Kitchen premises Regulation can be removed. Individual respondents were more likely to agree than those from organisations (94% and 88% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 15, 6 went on to make further comments.

Of the comments received from respondents, two were in agreement that the Kitchen premises Regulation can be removed. A local authority respondent believed that the Kitchen Regulations should be referred to so users know where the guidance is located. An individual respondent felt that removal was reasonable as long as local authorities are reminded that the requirements exist elsewhere and still have to be adhered to.

A number of those who were not in agreement did so on a point of factual disagreement. Within the consultation it is stated that the provision is covered by the Food Hygiene Regulations (2006) but this reference cannot be found, leading them to believe that the Regulation should be retained unchanged. It was also felt that there was no specific mention of minimal dining areas within school premises. The absence of this information led to a concern that schools could be built without kitchen premises and adequate dining facilities. It was seen to be vital that all schools can provide healthy and fresh food in adequate dining space in order to deliver the objectives outlined in ‘Good Food Nation’ and ‘Better Eating, Better Learning’.

The importance of recognising and promoting the role of healthy and social eating in education and learning was supported. The importance of the Health Promotion and Nutrition Act 2007 and the Better Eating, Better Learning guidance was seen to go beyond the food hygiene requirements and ensures the adequate consideration of food provision within schools. The Government’s commitment to food in schools should be continued, and retaining this Regulation would continue to promote the importance of food in educational settings.

There was an alternative view from a trade union respondent that the specific requirement for kitchen and dining space were already covered in the accommodation metrics used for the building of new schools, which in this respect they felt, rendered the Regulation superfluous. The concern was that as the metrics therefore do not form Regulation governed by legislation, they could conceivably be altered by Government without proper scrutiny, they would prefer if the Regulation remained.

The current requirement for schools to have a kitchen facility to prepare or heat meals for pupils, and adequate facilities for serving food and washing up was considered entirely sensible. It was however felt that this provision is one which a number of schools probably breach as they have insufficient space for children to sit down and eat together.

Question 16 - Washing accommodation for pupils. Do you agree that this Regulation is no longer required as it is met within the revised toilets and washing facilities Regulation? If not, why not?

Table 17: Question 16 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 15 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 2 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 24 1 15 40
% of organisations answering 96% 4% 100%
Individuals 14 2 21 37
% of individuals answering 88% 13% 100%
All respondents 38 3 36 77
% of all respondents 49% 4% 47% 100%
% of all those answering 93% 7% 100%

A majority of respondents, 93% of those answering the question, agreed that the Washing accommodation for pupils Regulation is no longer required as it is met within the revised toilets and washing facilities Regulation. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (96% and 88% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 16, 2 went on to make further comments.

A single respondent offered an opinion on washing accommodation for children and this was to state a concern that girls were not protected by the proposed new Regulations.

Question 17 - Accommodation for staff. Do you agree that this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 18: Question 17 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 15 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 2 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 22 3 15 40
% of organisations answering 88% 12% 100%
Individuals 13 3 21 37
% of individuals answering 81% 19% 100%
All respondents 35 6 36 77
% of all respondents 45% 8% 47% 100%
% of all those answering 85% 15% 100%

A majority of respondents, 85% of those answering the question, agreed that the Accommodation for staff Regulation can be removed. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (88% and 81% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 17, 8 went on to make further comments.

Half of the comments were made by those who were in agreement that the Regulation should be removed, and half disagreed.

Those in agreement, including independent school, local authority and individual respondents, offered a range of comments:

  • The removal of the Regulation does not have any unforeseen implication for the accommodation of staffing in boarding and other residential schools.
  • It would be helpful to cross reference to other pertinent legislation in the new Regulation. It would equally be helpful to refer to the Regulations, so users know where the guidance is located.
  • It is important to ensure that local authorities recognise that Regulations exist elsewhere and that they still must be adhered to.

Trade union respondents focussed on appropriate provisions for the teaching workforce. There was a view that although the current Regulation may not be fit for purpose, it should be strengthened rather than be removed altogether. Although the Workplace Regulations do have a specific requirement for rest facilities and workstations, these are not sufficient for a school environment as it is does not stipulate that separate accommodation for pupils is required. The Regulation should therefore be updated to include rest areas (staff rooms), sanitary facilities (including accessible facilities) and food consumption areas that are separate to pupil areas. The separate rest and meal areas away from workstations and the importance for privacy and dignity of school staff at work were considered essential and were not covered elsewhere.

A minority of comments were received from individual respondents and raised the following points:

  • The Regulation could not be removed if there was an intention to remove the staff room facilities.
  • That there may be some value in staff arrangements being inspected separately as a unified set of facilities within the school estate.

Question 18 - Storage Accommodation. Do you agree that this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 19: Question 18 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 2 3 5
Local Authority 15 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 2 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 21 5 14 40
% of organisations answering 81% 19% 100%
Individuals 10 7 20 37
% of individuals answering 59% 41% 100%
All respondents 31 12 34 77
% of all respondents 40% 16% 44% 100%
% of all those answering 72% 28% 100%

A majority of respondents, 72% of those answering the question, agreed that the Storage Accommodation Regulation can be removed. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (81% and 59% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 18, 12 went on to make further comments.

One comment was made by a local authority respondent who was in agreement that the Regulation was removed, but felt it useful to reference the Workplace Regulations for guidance so users know where it is located.

The most frequently raised theme from other respondents was to articulate both the importance and wider value of adequate storage accommodation. Storage was seen to be more than a health and safety issue and was essential in supporting outdoor learning. Schools regularly struggle with storage for outdoor clothing and equipment. The proposal to remove the Regulation due to its inclusion in the Workplace Regulations is not seen to address the specific requirements of educational establishments and the support of best practice. Concerns were equally raised about safe and effective circulation being impeded by a lack of facilities for coats and bags within secondary schools. The specific references to and support of outdoor learning needs and the safe storage of appropriate equipment was considered helpful in preventing accidents. It was felt that Regulation 19 therefore cannot be removed as there are still too many schools with insufficient provision and pupil and school staff needs are different from other workplaces and should be considered differently.

Some factual concerns were raised regarding the citing of Regulation 17 of the Workplace Regulations as a reason for withdrawal as this was seen to refer to the flow of pedestrians and vehicles not with storage. There would be some value in revisiting this assumption. A land and greenspace respondent did however note that there was a regulatory provision for external storage for sports and play equipment, which is of importance for nursery and primary schools.

Further detail or guidance in relation to the existing Regulation was requested by a minority of respondents:

  • It would be helpful to provide guidance on the metrics for storage accommodation by cross referencing to Regulation 17 of the Workplace Regulations given the varying size of the school rolls.
  • The Regulation is lacking detail in terms of how much storage there is, also where cloakroom spaces are to be cited near exits or entrances for reasons of practicality.
  • If the Workplace Regulations are to be adopted, then these need to be spelled out in education terms.
  • Guidance on design and the extent of storage to be provided would be of use. This would improve understanding of sufficient metrics and for organisations to moderate their actions accordingly.

Question 19 – Ventilation. Do you agree that this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 20: Question 19 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 2 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 13 2 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 1 1 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 20 4 16 40
% of organisations answering 83% 17% 100%
Individuals 14 1 22 37
% of individuals answering 93% 7% 100%
All respondents 34 5 38 77
% of all respondents 44% 6% 49% 100%
% of all those answering 87% 13% 100%

A majority of respondents, 87% of those answering the question, agreed that the Ventilation Regulation can be removed. Individual respondents were more likely to agree than those from organisations (93% and 83% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 19, 5 went on to make further comments.

An individual responded commented in support of the Regulation being removed and asked that it was made clear to local authorities that the content of the Regulation exists elsewhere and that they must be adhered to.

The majority of the further comments came from local authority respondents and supported the view that ventilation within schools needed to be given a higher priority. A direct correlation was seen between good ventilation and effective teaching and learning and a concern that in many new schools CO2 levels are higher than recommended. The guidance within the Technical Handbook (2.14) is not seen to be sufficient in terms of the ventilation specification and unique requirements of schools. Guidance is however available from the CIBSE and a cross reference within the Regulation to the Building Regulations would avoid any conflictual information. While there is guidance and approved codes of practice offering some protection to employees, it is the learning of the children and young people that can be impaired when it takes place in stuffy environments. Without the existence of specialised Regulations, the need to address these issues can be ignored.

Question 20 - Heating. Do you agree that this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 21: Question 20 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 1 1 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 14 1 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 2 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 21 5 14 40
% of organisations answering 81% 19% 100%
Individuals 12 3 22 37
% of individuals answering 80% 20% 100%
All respondents 33 8 36 77
% of all respondents 43% 10% 47% 100%
% of all those answering 80% 20% 100%

A majority of respondents, 80% of those answering the question, agreed that the Heating Regulation can be removed. Individual respondents were just as likely to agree than those from organisations (80% and 81% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 20, 6 went on to make further comments.

All but one of the comments received were from those who felt the Regulation should be maintained. A local authority respondent agreed on the basis that a maximum temperature control should be stipulated. This was reiterated by others.

The most commonly raised theme was in relation to the consultation paper stating that heating and cooling requirements were contained in Regulation 7 of the Workplace Regulations. Trade unions were most likely to raise these concerns. There was disagreement with the definitions used in the Workplace Regulations describing temperatures as needing to be ‘reasonable’, and equally in the Approved Code of Practice which uses phrases such as temperatures ‘could be’ rather than ‘must be’. The temperature requirements in the Code are also lower than the existing Regulations. Trade Unions describe temperature concerns as the issue most frequently cited by their members and that this leads to fatigue, tiredness, loss of concentration and increased risk of accidents. Learning is also impeded. It was also asserted that although temperature requirements are covered by Regulation 7 of the Workplace Regulations, confirmation was requested that these equally apply to non-employees and can therefore only be considered guidance when applied to school settings.

Schools were not seen to be the same as adult office settings and their requirements should be examined in more detail. An example of this was the Regulation of early years facilities and the potential for them to be regulated by adult workplace guidelines. Some considered that it would be helpful to have an acceptable range of temperature for learning areas which could be achieved by heating and cooling systems. The overarching view however within the comments, was that the School Premises Regulations should continue and include such further detail.

Question 21 – Self – Governing Schools. Do you agree this Regulation can be removed? If not, why not?

Table 22: Question 21 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Organisations:
Buildings and Infrastructure 1 1 1 3
Early Years Organisations 2 2
Equalities or Disabilities 1 3 4
Food and Catering 1 1
Independent Schools 3 3
Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy 2 2
Land and Greenspace 1 4 5
Local Authority 14 1 15
Professional Body 1 1
Sports and Leisure 1 1
Trade Union 2 2
Youth Work Organisations 1 1
Total organisations 22 1 17 40
% of organisations answering 96% 4% 100%
Individuals 13 2 22 37
% of individuals answering 87% 13% 100%
All respondents 35 3 39 77
% of all respondents 45% 4% 51% 100%
% of all those answering 92% 8% 100%

A majority of respondents, 92% of those answering the question, agreed that the Self-Governing Schools Regulation can be removed. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (96% and 87% respectively).

Of those respondents who answered Question 21, 3 went on to make further comments.

An Independent school respondent agreed that the Regulation could be removed, but queried that, as there have been recent applications for self-governing schools within the national system, would the proposed change have to be reversed if permissions were granted in the future for such schools?

An individual respondent who was not in agreement with the removal of the Regulation in relation to self-governing schools asserted that they did not believe the Regulations should be removed in light of the changes the Scottish Government were proposing.


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