A new report from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) into the state of school buildings claims too many are failing children and their teachers.
The ‘Better Spaces for Learning’ report indicates one-in-five teachers have considered quitting their school because of the poor condition of the buildings they have the teach in. Over 90 per cent of teachers RIBA surveyed said they believed well-built and designed schools improve educational outcomes and pupil behaviour.
RIBA identifies that good school design can reduce running and maintenance costs, in some cases by more than several times a teacher’s average annual salary; potentially preventing the English school estate from spending more than £150m a year on unnecessary operation and maintenance costs.
The report cements the government’s belief that just five per cent of almost 60,000 school buildings across the UK are performing as intended and operating efficiently.
Issues such as damp, roof leaks and asbestos-ridden classrooms result in too many pupils and teachers struggling to learn and teach in conditions damaging to their health and education.
Jane Duncan, president, RIBA, said: “This country is in the grip of the worst shortage of school places in living memory.
“Our report highlights the vital importance of school design and how it affects the general health and wellbeing of their users, our children and their teachers.
“As limited funding is available to deal with the growing problem, every penny spent on schools must deliver maximum value for money. Award-winning, well-designed, successful schools with happy pupils and productive staff like Burntwood School in London shouldn’t be the exception, they should be the standard.
“How can we expect our children to compete with the world’s best when too many of our school buildings are substandard?
“Educational improvements resulting from the current programme of school building are not reaching the basic standards that British taxpayers and our economy expects.
“We need to do better for all of our children and their hardworking teachers. We urge the Government to review its programme of building new schools.”
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