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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 00:01 GMT 01:01 UK
New schools 'not fit for future'
The government said new schools would be fit for future generations
Gordon Brown's 45bn plan to rebuild England's schools will be a waste of cash unless classrooms are made fit for lessons of the future, a report warns.

Most current school buildings pre-date the computer age and are "obsolete" as learning environments, the study said.

The report, from the British Educational Suppliers Association and the British Council for School Environments, calls for better designs.

And it said pupils should be actively involved in the planning process.

The study said schools in the future would need to have radically different designs.

Benefits wasted

This included more spaces where children could learn through computer technology and more "social spaces" in schools where pupils could follow independent study in a less formal environment.

Buildings should also allow schools to uphold better environmental standards and to cut emissions.

Good, flexible, sustainable, value-for-money design is at the heart of our once-in-a-generation investment to transform secondary education
Department for Skills and Education

The report said: "If we do not spend time to consider these core principles, there is a real danger that the benefits of this massive investment will be wasted.

"We will be left with school buildings which are not fit for purpose and may be obsolete even before they are occupied."

Future generations

Ty Goddard, director of the British Council for School Environments, said: "We need a process that will meet the needs of the pupils, teachers and communities.

"School building investment opens the door to a fantastic opportunity to transform our education system.

"If we squander it, we risk ending up with new schools that won't work."

A spokesman for the Department for Skills and Education said it made sure all new schools could adapt to the needs of future generations.

"Good, flexible, sustainable, value-for-money design is at the heart of our once-in-a-generation investment to transform secondary education," he said.

"We are working with many organisations, including BCSE, to ensure high design standards for teaching and learning, make our procurement and planning processes even better and to equip head teachers and local authorities with the vision and skills to plan for the future."

The government agency responsible for the school rebuilding programme said the initiative was "unprecedented in scale and vision".

Chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, Tim Byles, said: "Partnerships for Schools is resolutely focused on ensuring that Building Schools for the Future delivers learning environments that are not just fit for purpose but fit for generations to come.

"It is for this reason that educational transformation sits at the very heart of the programme and we continue to underscore the importance of teachers and learners in forming the design of these new and refurbished schools."

He said that the initiative had already been changed to bring about improvements.

Delays hit school building scheme
15 Dec 06 |  Education
Many new-built schools 'mediocre'
03 Jul 06 |  Education
Schools building project defended
18 Jan 07 |  Education
The shape of schools to come?
19 Jan 07 |  Education

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