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Raindrops keep falling on our heads

Buckets to catch rainwater, electrical failures and classrooms that are unfit for habitation: this is the day-to-day reality in the schools that have become dilapidated after years of government underinvestment – and as austerity persists, their numbers are set to grow. So what is it like teaching and learning in these conditions? And what impact do crumbling buildings have on educational standards? John Roberts speaks to school leaders struggling to keep a roof over their pupils’ heads

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As Garrett Murray drives along the motorway, he has a sinking feeling.

Heavy rain is pounding on the roof of his car and the grey skies above are showing no signs of letting up. The rain isn’t a problem while he is driving but he knows it will be a different story when he gets to school.

Murray is the deputy head of St John Fisher Catholic College in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. The main school building was constructed in the 1960s and these days the school relies on 12 temporary classrooms that have been in place for more than a decade.

On the day when the school has agreed to speak ...

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