12th January 2007 at 00:00
The TES is right to highlight the challenges facing the Building Schools for the Future programme (TES, December 15) and underline the importance of well-designed schools in boosting achievement. But let us not be hasty or tip over into cynicism.

We need a process that is simpler, more streamlined and thus less expensive for all those involved; not just for schools and local authorities but for architects and builders as well. We also need to involve teachers and young people in design and construction at a much earlier stage. The release of capital funding should be dependent on the proper involvement of those who will use the finished product.

If the Prime Minister's delivery unit is reviewing the way funding works, it should listen to those involved in designing and building schools as well. The select committee inquiry should be an opportunity to reinforce responsibility and partnership across the sectors. The commitment to renew our primary and secondary school buildings should be celebrated, but the process must be functional or we will end up with more schools that do not meet the needs of children, teachers and local communities. And that would be a tragedy.

Ty Goddard

Director, British Council for School Environments, London

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