Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Dilapidated, Leaking and Impossible to Heat: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Dilapidated, Leaking and Impossible to Heat: News

Article excerpt

Half of teachers say lessons are hindered by run-down buildings.

The full extent to which schools are suffering with leaking roofs and broken boilers was revealed this week as more than half of teachers claimed that their lessons are being hindered by the inadequate state of school buildings.

A survey of more than 2,000 teachers, conducted by TES and ITV's Daybreak programme, also revealed that one in five respondents felt their classrooms were unfit to teach in, while more than a quarter said that they would not want their own children to attend their school because of its state of disrepair.

The figures lay bare the condition of the country's school buildings, which have little hope of being refurbished or rebuilt due to swingeing cuts to schools' capital budgets.

More than two-thirds of teachers taking part in the survey felt their school needed modernisation, while more than 86 per cent believed that improved facilities would have a positive impact on their pupils' learning and behaviour.

The British Council for School Environments (BCSE), which lobbies for improvements to school buildings, said that poor classrooms act as a "real barrier" to how well pupils can learn.

"We are in serious need of a full overview of the state of the school estate, because the classroom environment can play a significant role in learning outcomes," said Nusrat Faizullah, the BCSE's chief executive. "The most recent estimates suggest 70 per cent of schools are beyond their design life," she added.

Hundreds of schools had been expecting to receive money to either rebuild or refurbish their classrooms under the vast Pounds 55 billion school rebuilding programme, Building Schools for the Future (BSF), brought in under Labour. But in one of his first acts as education secretary, Michael Gove axed the scheme, branding it a waste of public money, leaving many heads, teachers and pupils reeling.

According to Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, many schools that believed they were in line to receive new buildings spent their annual maintenance budgets on other priorities than the upkeep of their existing classrooms.

"This has exacerbated the problem," Mr Trobe said. "Many heads thought there was no point spending money to carry out repairs when they were about to get a new building, but then BSF was scrapped. …

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