As Teaching Methods Change, So Must Our School Buildings

Article excerpt

Byline: By ALED BLAKE Western Mail

With school governors now responsible for the upkeep of schools and with council building departments being replaced by private companies, Alan Davies, director of Barry-based office solutions company COS, ponders the future of 21st-century schools

IN THE past, investment in new school buildings has been erratic - however this is all set to change.

The Government is ploughing money into renewing school buildings and equipping them for the 21st century, recognising the importance of creating an effective, attractive and inclusive learning environment that teachers want to teach in and pupils want to learn in.

The traditional designs of schools are beginning to evolve to fit in with new teaching methods and just as we have noticed in the design of offices, there is much more of a need for flexible, multi-purpose spaces.

We all recognise that the building in itself does not make a successful school.

However, it is fair to say that a new, state-of-the-art building is conducive to a better working and learning environment.

Studies have proven that physical improvements to schools not only boosts staff and pupil morale, but also affects pupil performance and attendance.

In creating a learning environment for the future, many different elements need to be considered.

Classrooms need to be flexible, allowing for variation in use. They need to be inspiring to those working there, learning there and visiting, as well as supportive of the different teaching methods.

Schools should no longer feel institutional. There is an increasing need to switch the perception of schools as a place that one must attend - to places which are welcoming, attractive and integrated as part of everyday community life as it must be remembered that it is no longer just pupils who use schools. …