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Quarter of teachers unhappy with school buildings

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More than one in four teachers believe their school buildings are not suitable for learning, a poll has found.

It reveals that teachers believe good ventilation, lighting and classroom layout are all vital in helping with teaching and learning.

The poll, conducted by the Teachers Support Network and the British Council for School Environments (BCSE) with the Association of Teachers & Lecturers (ATL) asked school staff to rate how important they felt various aspects of their school buildings were.

The findings showed that 25.7% believe the design of their school buildings is “poor” in providing an effective learning environment.

Almost all (95.8%) said a school’s environment has an influence over pupil behaviour.

Among teachers’ criticisms of their school buildings was a lack of space for students to relax, and a lack of “exciting, flexible and appropriately sized classrooms for students.”

One teacher told researchers: “We currently have 250 more students in our school than we were designed to accommodate.”

There were also concerns about toilet facilities, with one teacher saying: “Students are very vocal about inadequate toilet facilities, which makes them feel unrespected.”

The survey comes the day after hundreds of teachers, pupils and parents descended on Parliament to protest against the government’s decision to axe a £55bn school rebuilding programme.

More than 700 schools have seen their projects cancelled as a result of education secretary Michael Gove’s decision, and he later came under fire over his handling of the situation after it emerged that initial lists of affected works were strewn with errors.

BCSE chief executive Ty Goddard said: “The survey shows school environments matter. Money invested in school buildings is an investment in teachers and children, not a wasted luxury. We need professional environments which support our teachers to do their jobs.”

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