Call for greater involvement in school design

Head teachers and pupils should be given greater support and inclusion from the Government to develop an understanding of the design process of the Building Schools for the Future programme, according to leading industry figures.

Design Council chief executive David Kester, Hilary Cottam of Participle, and John Sorrell of the Sorrell Foundation, were among those giving evidence for the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee report ‘Sustainable Schools: Are we building schools for the future?’

The report aims to comment on work in progress for the programme, which is designed to rebuild and refurbish all secondary schools in England over a period of 15 years, at a cost of £45bn, and to make recommendations about ways in which the process might be improved.

The Design Council warned that if good design and good design practice were not integrated properly into the process, then the schools that are built would be unlikely to be fit for purpose. Kester says, ‘The Government needs to provide more support to educate clients to get the most from the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redesign a school.’

Sorrell emphasised the need for consultation with pupils and was concerned that often consultation was only lip-service.

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