While many schools in England were built during the 1960s and 70s and have had little school building maintenance work since then, newly built schools must also withstand considerable wear and tear. A building’s condition will only worsen, and repairs will become more expensive if it’s not maintained. Furthermore, there’s also been considerable research linking pupils’ ability to learn and the conditions of their learning environment. A crumbling school infrastructure can directly impact on learning and education, student performance, and present considerable physical and psychological dangers to both students and staff.
Impact of school buildings on learning
Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash
Several studies have found that a child’s ability to learn is negatively impacted by their environment and affect pupils’ abilities to concentrate. Decaying buildings can also impact how well a teacher can teach, affecting their confidence and overall wellbeing at work. For teachers, poor working conditions can result in higher absenteeism, low productivity and morale, lower effectiveness in the classroom and reduced job satisfaction. However, when working conditions are good, teachers are more likely to feel more enthusiastic about their work, have high morale, and wish to take on more responsibility which, in turn, benefits the students.
School buildings that are in good condition also signal to pupils that they are cared for and there is a positive social climate, which can encourage better attendance. Perhaps not surprisingly, buildings that are in poor condition and have poor quality facilities such as leaking roofs, peeling paint, mouldy walls, and classrooms that are too hot or too cold make students feel negative about the school. This can potentially lead to high absenteeism and poor academic achievement as students do not feel energised or positive about their environment.
Researchers at Salford University in Manchester found that school design is also important for learning. Well-designed primary schools that provide good natural light, temperature and air quality can boost a child’s academic performance in reading, writing, and maths.
What can we do to provide essential school building maintenance?
There is no reason for school buildings to be overcrowded and crumbling. There are several things that can be done to improve school buildings for now and for the future. For instance:
The top priority for improving school buildings must be continual and increased investments, whether from the government, through schemes, or through better budgetary planning. This will help ensure school buildings are fit for purpose and ensure a safe place for people to teach and learn. With better short-term investment the UKs school estates can become much more sustainable and robust with much lower overall costs.
Create shared facilities
Having great facilities that are only used for a few hours a day and closed for several weeks a year is clearly a waste. In turn, a lack of external areas for sports and play can be challenging. Therefore, taking a more joined-up approach, such as sharing facilities with other local schools, universities, and the wider community, would offer a better and more cost-effective way to manage and maintain the facilities.
When the principles of the long-term funding and management of educational buildings are considered at the design stage, it can have a significant long-term impact on the building. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) believes that good design reduces school building maintenance and running costs and could prevent the England school estate from spending upwards of £150m each year on operation maintenance costs.
RIBA’s research reveals that more than 90% of teachers believe that well-built and well-designed schools improve their teaching and pupil behaviour. Creating flexible spaces that are inspiring well ventilated will boost teachers’ motivation and pupil’s attention span.
Get in touch
Here at Façade Experts we can help you survey, investigate, repair, and maintain your educational facilities by providing condition surveys, leak investigations, and a planned repair and maintenance solutions. Speak to a member of our technical team today.