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Buildings are important too

Building companies' share prices would soar if it could be shown that higher spending on school premises guarantees improved exam results.

Unfortunately for the builders - and the teachers who work in shabby schools - there is no proof that a higher quality of cement enables you to lay better educational foundations.

It is also probably true that a breakfast scheme targeted at the most deprived areas in Wales will have a bigger impact on educational results than the Pounds 500 million-plus school improvements programme. Children learn better if their stomachs are not empty.

That does not, however, mean that the headteacher unions' criticisms of the Assembly government's buildings budget are unjustified.

Too many school buildings in Wales currently look not only unloved but positively neglected (as our shocking page one picture graphically illustrates). What sort of message does that convey to students about the relative importance of education?

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