Page last updated at 23:31 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 00:31 UK

Plea over poor school gym halls

Woman running
School inspectors found children enjoyed PE lessons

Education chiefs in Scotland have said they cannot tackle the poor state of gym halls in schools until buildings have been upgraded.

The Association of Directors of Education has spoken out after an inspectors' report was critical of PE facilities in many primary schools.

The Scottish Government said it hoped to deliver 250 new or refurbished schools over the next three years.

It added that 3bn had been earmarked for the upgrade of school buildings.

Among the sample schools studied in the inspectors' report it was found that gym halls often doubled up as dining areas.

It went on to say that physical activity had a positive impact on pupils and was identified as one of their "favourite features of school life".

But it said: "Most lessons took place in school halls or gymnasiums - only a few lessons were observed outdoors.

There's a lag in the time scale for more investment in school buildings - we're keen to get ahead and get schools built with the next round of funding
John Stodter
Association of Directors of Education

"Overall pupils' changing facilities for physical education were too limited with a consequence that pupils had to change in classrooms and in toilets.

"In many schools, the gymnasium also served as a dining area.

"Most had access to tarmac playgrounds and grass playing fields. Only a few schools had high quality outdoor facilities."

John Stodter, from the Association of Directors of Education, said his organisation was waiting for the Scottish Government's decision on the Scottish Futures Trust.

It is a non-profit method for funding public buildings and has been designed to be an alternative to the established PPP/PFI involving private companies.

'Progressing well'

Mr Stodter said: "Schools really need facilities, resources and teacher skills to make it happen.

"There's a lag in the time scale for more investment in school buildings.

"We're keen to get ahead and get schools built with the next round of funding.

"We're waiting for the Scottish Government's decision on the Scottish Futures Trust."

A government spokeswoman said that the trust approach was "progressing well".

She added: "We expect that the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) company will be formally established shortly and we will inform parliament when this happens.

"SFT will secure new schools, hospitals, transport and other infrastructure projects at better value to the public purse and help increase sustainable, economic growth."




SEE ALSO
Government clarifies PE targets
14 May 08 |  Tayside and Central
Salmond challenged on PE target
17 Apr 08 |  Scotland
Pupils prepare for healthier menu
13 May 08 |  Tayside and Central
Pupils 'rewarded with chocolate'
02 May 08 |  Education
Call for school lunchtime lock-in
13 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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