Azara Blog: Many new schools being built are allegedly mediocre buildings

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Date published: 2006/07/04

The BBC says:

Half of a sample of 52 secondary schools built in England in the last five years were at best "mediocre", government design advisers say.

The design quality was "not good enough to secure the government's ambition to transform our children's education".

The report by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) coincides with an inquiry by MPs into Building Schools for the Future.

The government says it has already taken steps to raise standards.

Under the multi-billion-pound scheme, all secondary schools and half of all primaries are to be transformed over 15 years.
Cabe audited a representative sample of 52 of the 124 schools that had been completed.

The three criteria were functionality, build quality, and "ability to create a sense of place" with "an uplifting effect" on the local community.

It found 10 that were good or excellent - four of which were new academies - 15 were "partially good", 11 "mediocre" and 16 "poor".

"Those ranked as poor were considered particularly bad at providing inspirational educational environments, and nearly all schools failed to tackle basic issues of environmental sustainability such as providing natural daylight and ventilation," Cabe said.

All but one of the poorest 10 had been built under the private finance initiative (PFI), and only three of the best 10.

Well, Cabe is probably more-or-less accurate in its assessment, but the quality of buildings is only a secondary consideration in education, far more important are the quality of the teachers and the quality of the children.

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