British schools ‘in urgent need of renovation’

January 29th, 2015 Category: Schools

The upcoming elections has seen all parties pledge to improve the state of schools in the country.

The quality of education is always a fiercely debated topic among politicians, as they battle to get elected by the public.

Over the years much investment has gone into improving the quality of education, with the introduction of stricter controls and inspections, free schools and academies.

In fact, recently, it was announced that Ofsted is trialling double inspections this term, in Somerset.

The regulator is also set to explore whether inspections should become shorter but more regular for schools rated as good, ahead of the potential inclusion in a new inspection framework being rolled out in September.

These new pilots will see a number of inspectors  visit schools on the same day and compare results to see if their findings are similar.

Speaking about the plans, Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for schools, said: "I agree that Ofsted has not done enough in the past to test the reliability of inspection. We have concentrated on quality assurance. This provides assurance the process is carried out consistently as we would wish, but not directly that different inspectors in the school on the same day would give the same judgement.

“I have built in reliability testing for the pilots for the new short inspections this term. If reliability is a problem, we will review the issues to see what we need to do to make the inspections reliable.”

This new pilot comes as the quality of education and schools have come under the spotlight.

In fact, just last year, a report published by the Key revealed that the conditions of many schools were also in serious need of improvement.

The Key is an independent body which provides advice and information to educational institutions.

According to the report, leaking roofs, unclean buildings, and rising damp were among some of the many problems seen in schools.

Over 1,000 headteachers were surveyed for the study, which found that a lack of investment is a serious problem in many schools.

The figures showed that almost six in ten would like to improve or repair their buildings, while nearly half want to build extra classrooms. 

An additional 35 per cent said their schools were not fit for purpose. Schools in the south fared the worst, with 43 per cent of heads in the south-west claiming their schools are not fit for purpose, compared to 29  per cent in the north-west.

Some heads even said that a lack of electricity, lack of double glazing, and inefficient boilers were also creating problems at their schools.

Other schools were affected by a lack of rooms and resources, while others said that their buildings were in need of renovation.