NineSquard’s Steve Richards led two assurance reviews for Infrastructure NSW which were Health Checks to assist the NSW Department of Education (DoE) review the Cluster Planning Framework and School Planning Assistance Tool, which form the basis of the NSW Government’s School Assets Strategic Plan 2031. This Strategic Plan aims manage the projected capital expenditure requirements for learning/ teaching space supply to 2031 and realign the DoE asset portfolio to better match demand.
In summary, Cluster Planning is a change in approach that involves using place-based principles (i.e. where people live) to forecast and manage demand, enrollment, and facility needs. The SPA is a critical tool in enabling effective Cluster Planning. The tool SPA tool simulate a range of different cluster solutions, such as building a new school and redeveloping an existing school. Factors considered include projected student demand, school maintenance backlog and functionality, the average distance traveled to school, and school site planning standards. Steve’s review role was to assess the underlying logic behind the assumptions used to develop Cluster Planning and SPA Tool. This review ensured the decisions for new facilities were based on sound demographic and demand enrollment assumptions.