Building Design carries the report about standardised designs, which first appeared in today's Times. The newspaper quoted sources said to be close to the Department for Education's overdue Sebastian James review of the schools building programme.
As well as the Dixons group chief, the review team include Kevin Grace, director of property services at Tesco, a keen proponent of standardised, prefabricated stores.
The Times' account also said that contractors have already been asked to draw up sample school designs, which the paper dubs “flat-pack” schools.
Building Design, read mainly by architects, speculated that this new breed of schools would dramatically reduce the need for architects, planning consultants and other advisers to design each school from scratch.
Meanwhile, Building reported that the government is hoping to cut costs in the school building programme by reducing a typical secondary school from 10 000 sqm to 8 500 sqm.
The magazine caluculated, based on a cost of £1600 per sqm, a saving of £2.4m per school. However, BSF secondary schools were typically in the £1800-2200 bracket
An industry source said:"The gross are could be reduced by downsizing non-teaching areas. But with secondary schools, the department [for education] is looking for more creative ways to save space."
The James review was due to be published this month, but Building said that the report could now be delayed until spring.