Parents, pupils and local residents are being asked to help re-design and develop two local schools to make them fit for the future. And we’re holding two drop-in sessions next month to involve parents and local residents.
It’s part of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s new Community Schools Programme announced earlier this year.
Schools across London have been struggling to secure the money to replace windows, old heating systems and do essential repairs to buildings which are often passed their prime.
While the government is no longer providing the building and maintenance funding schools need, this underfunding is a major threat to our children’s educational success.
As a result, we’re aiming to find imaginative new solutions to create better school sites across the borough - with Flora Gardens primary in Hammersmith and Avonmore primary in West Kensington the first schools set to take part.
“We have the fourth-best performing primaries in the country - but schools need decent buildings to keep up that excellent record,” said Cllr Larry Culhane, H&F Cabinet Member for Children and Education.
We’re holding two events in January and we’d like to hear your views. You can hear from our team about why these improvements are needed at Flora Gardens and Avonmore, as well as to explore how these changes could benefit the wider community.
These first drop-in exhibitions are an opportunity to see our initial analysis of the sites, meet the architects and share your ideas about a new school and community facilities.
Avonmore Primary School
Avonmore Road, W14 8RT
Wednesday 15 January 2020
3pm to 7pm
Flora Gardens Primary School
Dalling Road, W6 0UD
Wednesday 22 January 2020
3pm to 7pm
A recent investigation by The Guardian revealed that one in five school buildings in England require urgent repairs.
And after 10 years of government austerity cuts, schools across the country are struggling to balance their budgets.
Cuts in government spending per pupil have fallen by 8% in England since 2009-10. Which means it’s up to H&F to plug this gap and ensure our children have the environments and facilities they deserve for the best start in life.
As well as fixing their current building problems, the programme also aims to:
- improve the flexibility of classroom space to meet new curriculum requirements
- make better use of play space to keep children healthier
- help schools recruit the best teachers
- improve inclusion, by designing sufficient space and facilities for learners requiring extra support
- make better use of schools to benefit the wider community, outside the school day and in holidays
- generate revenue to support the re-design of local primary schools.
The building works will be funded by the sale of homes on the sites, with priority given to those who need genuinely affordable accommodation.
Good buildings produce better results
Research cited by the Chartered Institute of Building Engineers shows ‘well-designed’ school buildings are associated with an uplift of 11 per cent in test scores. They also say nine in 10 teachers believe school design is important, while one in five teachers have considered quitting because of the condition of school buildings.
“There is strong evidence of the link between the condition of school buildings and educational outcomes,” Cllr Culhane added.
Meanwhile, government spending on school building fell by 60 per cent between 2010 and 2016 with the cancellation of over 700 Building Schools for the Future projects, and the entire £7 billion Primary Capital Programme.
A replacement Priority School Building Programme was established by the government in 2011, aimed at improving school buildings in the very worst conditions, but it’s heavily oversubscribed and there is no realistic prospect of accessing this fund in the near future.
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