Comment - Now we must make do and mend

9th July 2010 at 01:00

And so the decision came. It wasn't unexpected, but few of us will welcome the news. Building Schools for the Future is no more.

The loss of investment in our school buildings will have an impact on the quality of our children's education. We will reap what we sow.

While the projects review is welcome, it is not the first - previous ones have had a limited value, so it is crucial that it is focused on key issues. BSF suffered from too much bureaucracy and wasted costs in the procurement process, and that should be addressed.

So where do we go from here? We need to think critically about the design of the environments our money will buy. There is still no national consensus on what makes a good school environment - we need a "decent school standard" against which designs can be measured.

We also need to think creatively about how to spend what money there is. Refurbishment has made up a significant proportion of school revamps over recent years and must not be overlooked.

We can also look to refresh current buildings, and red-use others.

The state of the public finances is an important issue, but so is the state of our education infrastructure. The contribution of learning environments - the third teacher - is clear.

An investment in learning environments is an investment in teaching and learning. If we don't make the investment, the implications are not good for children or our teachers.

Ty Goddard, Chief executive, British Council for School Environments; co-founder, Centre for School Design.

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