RIBA has condemned the government’s school building programme as “too rigid and leading to waste and poor value for tax payers”. The report on the state of primary and secondary school buildings in the UK calls for an urgent review of the government’s Education Funding Agency building programme. It says the programme is inefficient, lacks the flexibility to make the best possible use of resources, and offers little opportunity for school staff to input into the design of their new buildings
The report, Better spaces for learning, emphasises the importance of well-designed school buildings on young people’s wellbeing, behaviour engagement and attainment. RIBA has identified that good school design can reduce running and maintenance costs, in some cases by more than several times a teacher’s average salary a year. It says that it could have prevented the English school estate from spending upwards of £150m annually on unnecessary operation and maintenance costs.
RIBA president Jane Duncan said: “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.”