Updating the School Premises Regulations 1967: consultation

Consultation seeking views on the updating of the School Premises (General Requirements and Standards) Regulations 1967.

Regulations that are to be updated

Sites for playing fields

Regulation 8 [4] :

23. For primary and secondary schools it is a requirement that there are playing fields available and for primary schools it is a further requirement that playing fields are in close proximity to the school. This allows schools to source their playing fields from outside providers if necessary and there is no intention to remove this provision.

24. In recent years there has been an increasing move towards the use of synthetic pitches ( SP) as they provide greater playing capacity than grass pitches. Given this, it would appear appropriate to allow a reduced area of provision if this includes SP. It is acknowledged that most of the SP will be synthetic grass pitches ( SGP) but to allow flexibility for other potential surfaces, provision will refer to SP.

25. Consideration needs to be given to the circumstances of the site, and should also consider the wider sporting community need, in deciding what the mix of outdoor sports facilities should be. The increase of shared campuses means that the requirements of primary/secondary/additional support needs in a single setting also has to be taken into account. When determining the area required for a shared school campus the total number of pupils and the area provision for secondary school is to be used.

26. It is proposed that this Regulation is updated to provide for a minimum area if there is only grass pitches at a school and the minimum area if there is only SP at a school. However, a mixture between the two is likely to be the preferred option and therefore the area required in some circumstances will be less than that currently defined for grass pitches. Sportscotland provides guidance on the recommended provision of school playing fields within their planning and design guidance and this will be included/referred to within the non-statutory guidance which will accompany the Regulations.

27. Currently, the Regulation also provides that every nursery school and every nursery class in a primary school shall have available in close proximity to it a garden playing space. However, this aspect of accommodation of nursery classes and schools will be regulated by the Care Inspectorate and so the intention is that this part of the Regulation will be removed.

Proposed updated Regulation 8:

Sites for playing fields

Primary school

Number of pupils Minimum Area (ha) if grass only. Minimum Area (ha) if SP only.
60 or less 0.1 0.1
61-140 0.2 0.3
141-315 0.3 0.3
316-450 0.4 0.3
451 or more 0.6 0.3

Secondary Schools

Number of pupils Minimum Area (ha) if grass only. Minimum Area (ha) if SP only.
320-500 1.6 1.7
501-750 2.4 1.7
751-1,000 3.2 1.7
1,001-1,200 3.6 2.5
1,201-1,400 4.0 2.5
1,401-1,600 4.4 3.2
1,601-1,800 4.8 3.2
1,801-2,000 5.2 3.2

Question 7: Do you agree that if there is a mixture of grass pitches and SP then the area required in some circumstances can be less than that currently defined for grass pitches? If not, why not?

Educational accommodation in primary schools and secondary schools.

Regulation 9 and 10 [5] :

28. Educational accommodation means all the internal space within schools, including accommodation for assembly, dining, study, music, physical education, shower and changing rooms, storage etc. Classroom size should be appropriate to allow effective teaching and no area of the school should compromise health and safety. Scottish Government accommodation metrics which are applied to the pupil roll are used as a guide when building new schools through Schools for the Future Programme. These metrics were developed by assessing the mean accommodation area of existing primary and secondary schools in Scotland. It would seem appropriate to use these as a minimum standard and include in the Regulation reference to the most up to date accommodation metrics published by the Scottish Government. The metrics used at the moment to build new schools are:

Primary Schools

Pupil roll of the school m² per pupil
Up to 231 8.5
232-462 7.5
463+ 6.5

Secondary Schools

Pupil roll of the school m² per pupil
Up to 400 13
401-800 12
801-1200 11
1201+ 10

29. These accommodation metrics provide an acceptable area for space within a school but local authorities may choose to build schools larger than this. However, if local authorities wish to build smaller than this then exceptionally they may seek approval from the Scottish Government.

Question 8: Do you agree that accommodation metrics is an appropriate method to calculate the educational accommodation required? If not, why not?

Sanitary accommodation for pupils

Regulation 15 and 16 [6] :

30. The existing Regulation provides a higher number of appliance per pupil than is required for employees within the Technical Handbook for non-domestic buildings. This is because of the unique circumstances surrounding schools where access to facilities may have peaks at break times. In addition, the School Premises Regulations do not prescribe standards for accessible sanitary facilities for persons with a disability or refer to unisex toilets that could address gender issues. Therefore, the Regulation needs to be updated and simplified to meet current expectations.

31. That said, the number of toilets and wash hand basins as prescribed in the current Regulations should be retained as it ensures a greater provision than the Technical Handbook and the school provision recommended in British Standard 6465-1: 2006. This is particularly important in smaller schools, which are prevalent in Scotland, where the existing Regulations provision may be double that prescribed in the British Standard.

32. However, the provision can also be updated to reflect the needs of modern schools. Currently the Regulation states that half the accommodation shall be for boys and the other half for girls and does not refer to unisex toilets. Flexibility should be permitted within this Regulation to allow the provision of separate toilet facilities for boys and girls except where they are provided for use by one pupil at a time. Urinals in these circumstances may no longer be necessary and therefore the provision of urinals should be optional if replaced with a toilet.

33. Accessible sanitary facilities for pupils who are disabled should be provided in accordance with the guidance to standard 3.12 Sanitary Facilities within the Technical Handbook. As the provision of wash hand basins is related to the number of toilets provided, it seems appropriate that this issue is provided for in this Regulation. However, it is considered that the current Regulation also needs to be updated to provide that sanitary disposal units should be provided in all cubicles used by girls aged 8 or over which is a requirement within the British Standard 6465-1: 2006.

34. The current Regulations cover changing accommodation and showers, given the term "educational accommodation" includes references to both terms. It is considered that for clarity, the new Regulations should provide that showers must be provided for the use of pupils aged 11 years or over engaged in physical education and should be accessible from the changing rooms for all users. British Standard 6465-1: 2006 details that there should be one shower per 10 pupils or part thereof engaged in physical education.

35. As the intention is that nursery schools and nursery classes will be regulated by the Care Inspectorate then the provision that applies to nursery schools and nursery classes within a primary school will be removed.

Question 9: Do you agree that this covers the requirements for toilet and washing facilities? If not, why not?

Medical inspection and rest room accommodation

Regulation 18 [7] :

36. It is still necessary to have a Regulation which ensures the provision of accommodation for the medical examination and treatment of pupils and appropriate facilities for pupils who are ill or injured. However, the current Regulation is out of date with reference to the Education (Scotland) Act 1962 and School Health Service (Scotland) Regulations 1947 so it would be appropriate to update this Regulation.

37. Section 57 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 refers to the requirement in section 39 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 that medical and dental examination and inspection of pupils is provided for pupils. Therefore there is still a requirement for accommodation in this matter and similarly under health and safety requirements, a rest room is required for pupils who are ill or injured.

38. This Regulation should be updated to remove reference to out of date legislation and to ensure the provision of a medical room for medical and dental examinations and a rest room for the short term care of sick and injured pupils which includes or is adjacent to a toilet facility. For schools that cater for complex needs additional medical accommodation must be provided which caters for those needs.

Question 10: Do you agree that this covers the requirements for medical inspection and rest room accommodation? If not, why not?


Regulation 21 [8] :

39. The current Regulation requires that in every school building the lighting, both natural and artificial, of each room or other space shall be appropriate to the purpose for which the room or other space is provided and then prescribes the level or sources of light which are somewhat out of date.

40. Lighting is covered within the 'Silver and Gold Sustainability Levels' of the sustainability section (Section 7) of the Technical Handbook. The intention of Section 7 is to encourage the adoption of more demanding sustainability standards in buildings. However, there is no mandatory requirement, under the building regulations, for the provisions of the Silver and Gold levels to be achieved by school buildings.

41. As lighting is important to a pupil's ability to learn then it is considered that Regulation should be retained in this area, but simplified. The standard should ensure that the lighting, both natural and artificial, of each room or other space shall be appropriate to the purpose for which the room or other space is provided. Supplementary non-statutory guidance will be provided on how appropriate lighting can be achieved.

Question 11: Do you agree this covers the requirements for lighting? If not, why not?


Email: Veronica Smith

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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