Many classrooms in poor condition after more than a decade of government underinvestment

ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton will today (Saturday 9 March) call for “learning environments to be fit for learning” as a survey shows the condition of classrooms after more than a decade of government underinvestment.
Survey app Teacher Tapp conducted a survey for ASCL asking teachers and leaders about the condition of the classroom they had most recently taught in. Of 8,585 respondents in state-funded primary and secondary schools in England, the results were: 
Too hot in summer (because of poor ventilation) 57%
Too cold (because of inadequate heating system) 28%
Poor electrics affecting mains switch panels, lighting, IT infrastructure etc 19%
Broken windows/ doors 19%
Leaking ceilings 15%
None of these are true 27%
Not relevant/ cannot answer 2%
Unique responders 8585

Last year, a report by the National Audit Office said that – “following years of underinvestment” – the overall condition of the school estate is declining and around 700,000 pupils are learning in a school in need of major rebuilding or refurbishment.
In his final address to the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders before stepping down in April, Mr Barton will say the Teacher Tapp survey shows the pressure on the ground.
He will say: “Over half of teachers say their classrooms are too hot in the summer because of poor ventilation; over a quarter say they are too cold in the winter because of inadequate heating systems; nearly a fifth say the electrics are poor, and the same proportion say windows or doors are broken.
“Not only has capital investment been wholly inadequate but tortuous funding systems mean many schools have to scrabble for cash through a bidding process – just to afford the cost of basic repairs and maintenance. It is surely obvious that government has to do better than this – that learning environments have to be fit for learning.”

He will also call on all political parties to improve revenue funding for education over the course of the next parliament.
He will say: “We understand that money is tight. But there is something that politicians from all sides can and should commit to over the course of the next parliament which is affordable, and which would make a huge difference.
“Population estimates predict that the number of pupils in England’s schools will fall by half a million over the next five years. It adds up to a huge – multi-billion-pound – saving. So, instead of raking this money back into the Treasury – there is a golden opportunity to put education on a more sustainable footing.
“Use this money to raise the rate of per-pupil funding, and the pupil premium. It’s a policy that costs nothing – or at least nothing extra – but it would make a world of difference to children and young people, and particularly those from disadvantaged homes.”

Mr Barton is stepping down in April following seven years as ASCL General Secretary. He will be succeeded by Pepe Di’Iasio, currently headteacher of Wales High School in Rotherham.