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Guides to build on...

Over the past year, a huge amount of information has been published on changing attitudes toward the role of the school building.

Several themes emerge: in updating school buildings to meet present and future needs, LEAs must set up ICT facilities, seek out high-quality design, create flexible learning spaces and open up schools to community use.

Building Education, by Helen Clark (Institute of Education, University of London, pound;8.95) brings together a digestible report of research and case studies from the UK and the USA that explore the effect of surroundings on performance and attainment.

Schools for the Future: Building Bulletin 95 (pound;25 from the Schools Building and Design Unit of the Department for Education and Skills) describes itself as an "inspirational document" rather than a technical guide. It explores many issues, including updating the classroom for the 21st century through the use of ICT across the curriculum, creating adaptable learning spaces, and the use of sustainable and quality designs.

Learning Buildings, by Barbara Annesley, Matthew Horne and Hilary Cottam (School Works, pound;9.95) outlines the changes in society that school buildings must reflect if they are to be effective. It includes advice on how to build relationships with the school community and create partnerships with designers.

School Works has also created the Tool Kit (pound;35), a handbook that details its findings from the Kingsdale case while providing practical advice and problem-solving methods for selecting architects, and designing and implementing a participatory process. It was freely distributed to all secondary schools.

Kit for Purpose, from the Design Council, is a report of an ongoing study on the effect of the design of learning tools on educational outcomes. So far, it has targeted fundamentals such as chairs, storage and information media.

It urges the educational community to rethink relationships between national frameworks, school management systems and designers, suppliers and manufacturers.

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