A Ford will do the job of a Ferrari

Nusrat Faizullah misleads your readers when he claims the NFER's study of the impact of buildings on performance is limited (Letters, 9 December). PricewaterhouseCoopers carried out a similar study for the-then DfES in 2003 and in 2005 Newcastle University undertook a study for the Design Council. Both studies noted the need for basic provision - adequate working space, ventilation, sound-proofing, lighting and hygiene. Both acknowledged some short-term favourable impressions. Long-term, however, both came to the same conclusion as the NFER. In the words of the Newcastle report, "you can change a school from a Ford to a Ferrari with little long-term impact on performance".

NASS has seen the blind pursuit of Building Schools for the Future money and unduly exotic design store up long-term debt for council tax-payers and bring damaging closures of effective village schools. Urban rationalisation mindless of rising birth rate now means too few primary places and foolishly large schools for younger children.

Mervyn Benford, Information officer, National Association for Small Schools.

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