LETTER: Schools need space provisions

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From Ms Margaret Tulloch and others

Sir: As organisations concerned with the quality of education of our children, we have major reservations about a recently announced Government intention to put before Parliament revised Education (School Premises) Regulations, including a proposal to remove the minimum space allocation per pupil for teaching and recreation.

The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981 were due to come into force in 1991, by which time resources should have been provided to bring schools up to the standard of these regulations. In October 1990, the then Secretary of State extended the transitional period for compliance for five years so that a review could take place. The review, it was said then, would be

in light of changes in educational practice over the last 10 years, to assess the implications for school premises of the National Curriculum over the next 10 years, to examine the legal requirements in the context of delegation to schools of responsibility for repairs and maintenance and to ensure that schools are able to make better use of school grounds and the overall school environment.

The reason the present Secretary believes that these minimum space provisions are no longer necessary is said to be because

schools enjoy much greater management freedoms than they did when the last version of the Regulations was introduced and that schools and local education authorities should have greater freedom to manage school buildings and land in the interests of pupils and in the light of the facilities available.

We do not believe that these reasons provide sufficient evidence to show that the removal of these statutory requirements is in the interests of pupils. Our children deserve the protection of such regulations and, instead of abandoning them, the resources should be provided to bring school premises up to standard.

Yours sincerely,

Margaret Tulloch Executive Secretary Campaign for State Education; John Andrews General Secretary, Professional Association of Teachers; Andy Dorn Co-worker, Advisory Centre of Education; Simon Goodenough Chair, National Governors' Council; Nigel de Gruchy General Secretary, National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers; David Hart General Secretary, National Association of Headteachers; Anne Hollinger Member, Management Committee Parents in Partnership; Vicky Hurst Chair, Nursery Education Liaison Group; Alan Jinkinson General Secretary, Unison; Margaret Morrissey Public Relations Officer, National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations; Doug McAvoy General Secretary, National Union of Teachers; Alan Parker Education Officer, Association of Metropolitan Authorities; David Smith Chair, Action on Governors' Information and Training; Peter Smith General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers; Hadrian Southern Chair, National Association of Governors and Managers; John Sutton General Secretary, Secondary Heads Association

Campaign for State Education

London, SW20

25 September