Let's build on new learning environments

9th December 2011 at 00:00

My anxiety at your "Decay and prosper" cover (2 December) was tempered by a well-balanced article ("Make do, don't mend") on the role of school buildings in teaching and learning.

The study by the National Federation for Educational Research (NFER), cited in the article by Professor Dylan Wiliam, which suggests that children perform worse in newly built schools, confirms its findings are based on a "limited set of data" and contradicts the experience of many teachers (including me).

The NFER's research underlines a vital point - that we need a robust programme of post-occupancy evaluation for all new and revamped learning environments, so we can learn more about what works and what doesn't. This is particularly important with the forthcoming Priority School Building Programme.

We should strive to have inspirational and functional learning environments that bring out the best in teachers and pupils. Let's make sure we don't squander the limited resources we have by revamping or building schools in a way that doesn't allow the environment to play its part in children's education.

Nusrat Faizullah, Chief executive, British Council for School Environments.

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