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 opposite. 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.
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.