An ambitious government plan to rebuild all 3,500+ of the UK’s state schools has run into trouble, following findings by a planning body claiming that it would lead to a generation of completed ‘mediocre’ schools.
The Guardian reports today that findings in a report by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) said that the flagship Building Schools for the Future project was being hit with problems. They said that:
Eight out of ten new designs for secondary school buildings were either ‘mediocre’ or ‘not yet good enough’, and only around a fifth were considered either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Frequent problems discovered in a number of designs were:
Potential for bullying in secluded schoolyards.
Noisy open areas, making teaching difficult.
Classrooms which are either too dark or prone to overheating on sunny afternoons.
The Building Schools for the Future project is due to be completed in 2020, with a cost of around £35billion.
Given the government’s poor record for delivering major projects on time and budget, many critics of the policy will certainly see the findings and say “I told you so.” Why should be such a high-profile project be taken at a national level? Surely if a school needs to be rebuilt or newly constructed, that should be the responsibility of either the schools themselves or the local authorities with the government providing some financial help were necessary.
This is the government’s latest betrayal of our young people. In the future, our children will be forced to be taught in sub-standard buildings which are poorly designed and will be extremely difficult to maintain properly. If this is the big educational legacy that they are leaving us, then the parents of today should oppose it.