Sitting target

18th April 2003 at 01:00
IT is good to be reminded this week that the school experience is not all about success in and out of the classroom. The nature of the classroom is itself important, even including the furniture, as Brian Toner notes (opposite page). After all, a mini industry has grown up around the need for employees to look after their postures at work. If this is important for adult health and productivity, why should children be neglected?

The importance of a school's surroundings should not be underestimated. The early signs of progress in Glasgow's refurbished secondary schools confirm this (TESS, last week). It is difficult for young people to feel comfortable when the most basic means of comfort are denied them: a recent study by Newcastle University found school toilets were so poor that 62 per cent of boys and 35 per cent of girls avoided them altogether.

Whatever the faults of public private partnership arrangements, they have forced education authorities, national agencies and the construction industry to look again at school design - not before time. As someone once said, you can't just throw money at the problem.

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