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Gove-favoured academy wins poncy award

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Vince_Ulam, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter


    Riba Stirling Prize: Burntwood School wins award

    Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) president Jane Duncan said...

    "With the UK facing a huge shortage of school places, it is vital we learn lessons from Burntwood."

    (BBC.co.uk, 15th October 2015.)
    lanokia likes this.
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Saw this on the BBC yesterday.

    Shots of the school just left me cold. I did wonder how much extra money they wasted but then I realised such thoughts were futile and silly.

    Still, something extra to put on their website alongside 'Investor in People' and other such tosh.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I agree, £41m is a ridiculous amount for one school to cost, even though it is large school (1800 pupils).

    In fairness to Gove (not a phrase that often crosses my lips!) this school rebuilding was agreed by Labour under BSF prior to Gove becoming SoS. Gove did allow it to go ahead in 2011 (maybe contracts had already been placed?) but he abolished the BSF programme pretty quickly because of the costs of buildings like these.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    There's a lot of angular concrete there, and a very cheesy rainbow tree mural.

    Whenever I hear of school buildings and architecture prizes I reminded of an extension at the school I used to teach at which won some prize though was universally declared the least favourite part of the school by the pupils (sorry "young people") when they were getting opinions about the new builds that happened.

    A school is the people, not the buildings, let others win the prizes.
  5. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I have no problem with students being taught in good quality buildings though £41m rankles. Again it is this business of value for money and the current bozos seem to have the opinion that £100m of public spending on something is a waste but £1b of private spending on the same thing is good value.

    I haven't seen any of the classrooms but I remember being interviewed in one school designed by a very famous architect and it was a disaster. The main points about a school is getting the students safely and quickly from one place to another and aiding the teachers in organising their classes for learning once the students have arrived. This school severely fought against those two things. Pointedly the architect involved had eschewed all advice from teachers about layout.
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Key things for a school:
    Learning spaces (mostly classrooms, workshops, gyms and labs) appropriate for use. This includes adequate heating. lighting and ventilation. It also should include noise insulation (especially music and drama)
    Proper circulation space - including queuing space
    Storage space
    Accessible services - they'll need updating and repair.
    A roof that doesn't leak - so never ever flat ones.
    Proper space for back office (SLT, admin, technicians, cleaners, meeting rooms etc) to happen including space for teaching staff to meet.
    Staff room
    Robust toilet facilities with proper cleaning arrangements

    I've probably forgotten stuff.

    It is good that some schools get money spent on them. It's surprisingly reminiscent of the 1950s build school I went to way back when.
    lanokia and Mangleworzle like this.
  7. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Unless there's any new technology or material that arrives, why bother to have "innovative" schools? The requirements are pretty much as phlogiston says, surely it's not beyond the wit of architects to find a formula for which school designs and materials work best and then apply that formula to new buildings while taking in consideration value for money.

    Personally I'd see them all with neo-gothic exteriors and modern interiors.
  8. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    "Staff and students have said on many occasions that the new buildings have greatly improved the quality of their day-to-day experiences at the school and students comment that their commitment to learning has been enhanced."

    But will it improve their grades?

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