War memorial;Opinion

29th May 1998 at 01:00
Six months ago the last survivor of the 1915 Gallipoli landings died at the age of 101. But as we report (page 4), two huts that housed the Dardanelles troops are still on active service at a Swindon school.

In a way, it is unsurprising that there is no money to replace the buildings. Even the pound;1.3 billion the Government has promised for school repairs and renovations is nowhere near enough. But the antiquity of these classrooms will shock even those cynics who believe the recipe for state schooling has always been: "Take one five-year-old. Freeze and boil in cheap-jack buildings for 11-13 years. Repeat the process ad infinitum."

The common perception is that school huts first appeared immediately after the Second World War. But they were actually introduced by the school boards abolished in 1902. The Government may therefore be right to hold on to the Swindon huts - but for the wrong reasons. They should become a memorial to the bloody sacrifices at Gallipoli - and the smaller sacrifices of countless teachers and pupils of an underfunded state education system.

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