Tuesday, July 06, 2010

More Than Buildings

With the school buildings budget being cut expect to be deluged with stories about classrooms with leaky roofs over the next couple of years.

I have to say that judging from my own experience at school the importance of shiny new facilities is vastly overrated. Some of the best schools had primitive labs that predated the discovery of electricity and so many mobile units that they resembled a former POW camp or a Butlins. Whereas having modern buildings was no guarantee of actually being any good.


Peter Risdon said...

When I were a lad, there was pretty much an inverse correlation between quality of school and the existence of new buildings.

Macheath said...

I wonder how much of the budget recently has gone into the construction of 'IT suites' in schools.

From what I've seen, IT departments can't put their little tin gods just anywhere - they require an air-conditioned sanctum which emulates their natural habitat of no-expense-spared offices to demonstrate to those shabby academics that IT is the only Way.

TDK said...

There's a scene in Kes where the headmaster compares the shiny new buildings with the horrible old school. He is bewildered that the kids don't appreciate what they are given.

I know it's fiction but we know that much of the post war buildings were poor quality and are being replaced. I suspect that up and down the country they are tearing down the "modern" school buildings that were going to solve all the problems then, but are the cause of all the problems now.

Anonymous said...

And as if by magic, what did i see on the BBC this morning ? A leaky roof story!

Ross said...

Peter- I've always found that.

Macheath- I suspect most IT education is wasted since anything they learn in school will be obselete in 10 years time.

TDK- In fairness the modern buildings aren't as ugly as those 1960s concrete monstrosities.

Pavlov's Cat said...

After it was annouced on BBC TV this morning the first person they turned to was some utter twunt.
Who apparently is head of a 'Charity' that designs (and builds?) schools.

"Well it's a disaster, education will suffer" said Mr Soon To Out Of A Job.

I'm afraid I was laughing too hard to get the 'Charitys' name, as I'd love to look at their accounts and see how much the public put in their collection tins (or not) and how much Nu Labour paid them.

So Mr Turkey, How do you like Christmas?


Jim said...

Nearly 30 years ago my parents scrimped and saved to send me to a private school. Some of the classrooms were housed in old concrete prefab buildings, as were the showers and changing facilities. They were freezing in winter. The rest of the classrooms were in an old country house - just rooms with desks and a blackboard. Nothing fancy.

Did it make any difference to the education I received? No, because the teachers were what the money paid for. Dedicated teachers who expected the best from their pupils and gave of their all also. Nowadays the same school has shiny new classrooms replacing the old ones, but the standard of education will be no better for it.

A good teacher needs only a blackboard and some chalk. All the fancy new buildings and technology in the world will not make a bad teacher good.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Completely agreed.