Many school buildings not fit for purpose

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The majority of schools need to be improved or repaired, nearly half need extra classrooms, and hundreds of schools lack investment, according to a heads’ survey. 

Five years after scrapping the £55 billion ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme, hundreds of primary and secondary schools are now suffering from a lack of investment, according to a survey of over 1,000 headteachers.

Problems like rising damp, leaking roofs, limited classroom space and overuse of temporary buildings were frequently mentioned in the survey, as well as a lack of facilities such as pupil intervention rooms and meeting spaces, the Guardian reports.

Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Canterbury is typical of the situation in many schools, with pupils’ education being disrupted by problems including no electricity, crumbling concrete and leaking pipework. “We have old steel framed windows that are impossible to double glaze, leading to an unnecessary loss of heat, and they either have to be hammered open or shut,” said headteacher Jane Robinson. “There are also serious mechanical and electricity problems – at one stage if you turned on a kettle in student services, it meant turning off the fridge.”

‘Building Schools for the Future’ was replaced by the ‘Priority School Building Programme’, which has so far pledged investment totalling £4.4 billion, but only for schools in the worst physical condition. So far in the plan, 260 schools are being renovated and 16 new schools have opened. According to the DfE, current school building projects  now cost 35% less than previously.

Does your school suffer from the problems mentioned in the survey and if so are they affecting your working life and your pupils’ education?



3 thoughts on “Many school buildings not fit for purpose

  1. My classroom is far too small for the number of children, I struggle to walk from one side to the other, I have had to remove books from my book corner and no longer have space for a role play area. Plus with inclusion there are more adults in the room working 1to 1, it is hot and stuffy, very uncomfortable for adults and children alike. My legs are covered in bruises as I walk into the edge of tables regularly, it is just not a positive learning environment but at least there are no leaks so I probably shouldn’t complain!
    The solution offered by the great and the good, buy smaller tables!! I kid you not.

  2. I have recently been put into a wooden portacabin (or shack) as for 1 year and 1 term starting at the school I didn’t even have a classroom and would never know who’s room I would be in next. This meant I had to carry a lot of resources etc around the school all the time. Although I don’t know what’s worse, doing that or having all my stuff ruined by damp and having to keep moving to prevent myself freezing up. I have to allow pupils to wear their coat in the room at the moment. We are having a new school built shortly and joining with a neighbouring comprehensive. With the room ‘situation’ and the problems with staff absenteeism, amongst other things its been a rocky 1st year and a half. So I can’t wait to bein my new warm classroom at long last….

  3. I worked in a school where the classroom I was in had been divided into two rooms making them both very small, narrow and long.

    All the tables had to be in rows to fit at all (not conducive to group work), and faced the interactive whiteboard. My white board was at the back of the classroom on one side where the kids couldn’t see it…
    My laptop was also near the back of the class behind a pillar…

    I had no desk as it couldn’t fit, no book area (again it wouldn’t fit) and no-where to store any resources nearby except a shared cupboard.

    When I left, the school was still waiting for permission to put additional buildings on site (which had already been built!).
    They ended up with a temporary ‘building’ mounted on concrete blocks which was placed on the playground (not even where the new build was supposed to go).

    To enable it to have electricity and running water part of the playground was dug up and refilled with black tar.
    Complete disaster and eye sore.

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