Schools expand into castles and office buildings with new funding


Some €6 million is being spread across 75 schools in Flanders and Brussels to increase capacity, with some creative projects in the pipeline

Temporary measures

New funding to increase capacity in the short term is being offered to Flanders’ schools. The €6 million in extra funding will help schools renovate existing infrastructure, rent portable classrooms or rent other existing empty spaces.

“We are building new schools, but sometimes schools cannot wait for that,” explained Flemish education minister Ben Weyts. “We are going to rent infrastructure where the need is especially great so that every pupil is assured of a spot in a class.”

The region is investing €500 million over the next five years in new schools. But 75 schools across the region – mostly primary schools – are in urgent need of additional capacity now. Schools had to apply for funding and were chosen on the basis of urgency, multi-functionality and sustainability.

Room for 16,000 more

With the funding, schools can improve unused or little-used areas in the school itself to create additional space. They can also rent portable classrooms or other spaces. A school in Lubbeek plans to rent a former castle, for instance, while another in Antwerp will take over empty office space.

“We need to get on this right away,” said Weyts. “Thanks to these new subsidies, we can speed up the process of creating extra capacity as well as modernising school infrastructure.”

West Flanders will see about one-third of the funding, as 23 schools in the province need more space. In total across all five regions and in Brussels, more than 16,600 additional places will be created.

Photo courtesy Catholic Education Network