December 20 2011

Building Schools for the Future (BSF): Case Study of an Inner-City Academy in the United Kingdom


When the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative was introduced by the United Kingdom’s Labour government in 2004, it sounded like a very good idea. The basic principle of the £55 billion scheme was to rebuild every secondary school in England. Architects, engineers and urban planners were rubbing their hands with glee. BSF was a guaranteed source of income for years to come, as well as a blank canvas to create innovative, inspirational designs.

The impact is clear for all to see. This author has seen the Nottingham secondary school pictured above (first image) transformed from a listed, yet very tired building into a brand new Academy complete with canvas enclosed courtyard. Anyone interested in the psychological impact of design should have paid both versions of this institution a visit. In the old building the school was struggling academically, but the environment was not helping it improve. How can children, usually from difficult backgrounds, be expected to achieve when the building around them is cold and crumbling? The new Academy is the polar Afteropposite. Students are now equipped for success and you can feel it. The sustainable, modern design has a positive effect on the attitude of  all, within which one can benefit greater from the education being delivered.

The problem is that BSF is no more. As part of the new Conservative government’s attempts to claw back the budget deficit the program has been scrapped before even half the promised regeneration has been completed. Whilst acknowledging money has to be saved, there must be a better place to save it. It is incredibly frustrating to think that somewhere children will not be given the same opportunity as that described above.

Are we abandoning the prospects of a whole generation for the financial mistakes of the last? And if it was your child, where would you want them to be educated?

Credits: Images and documents linked to sources.

Ashley Roberts

Ashley Roberts is a recent graduate of the University of Nottingham, England, with a Diploma in Architecture and is now studying for his part-three accreditation. Still living in Nottingham, but with strong links to Liverpool and London, he has a passion for the continued and sustainable development of all three cities. Ashley has a particular interest in how we can use green technologies as a catalyst to improve the spaces around us. Follow him on twitter: @ashjroberts

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 at 9:20 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Education and Careers, Energy, Environment, Government/Politics, Social/Demographics, Technology, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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