Saturday, 25 September 2010

No-one's going to rebuild a new build.

I was in an email conversation with a journalist - well more like a one-sided rant. Me - ranting. Journalist was talking about people being affected by the cutting of the BSF programme.

Well, as ever, terminology is all. Like calling new schools, "academies" to somehow imply they'll be more academic, better educationally. Like calling schools "colleges" to imply they're somehow more grown-up, like calling them "community colleges" to imply that they will include the local community more. Like calling your heads of year, a "student progress leaders" just to make sure the child won't recognise that they are the ones to trust and confide in.

All while I'm at - when "personell" became "human resources" I think that that sums up the contempt that management in general has for employees in general. Why not just "factory fodder" or "office fodder" and have done with it?

Back to BSF. One of my favourite quotes of the last few years is from the Association of Architects, whose spokesperson described the BSF as "an opportunity lost". And you had better believe it. The buildings they throw up are part-prison, part holiday camp complex. And if architects have little do with the new-builds, then neither do educationalists. There are wide and whacky-shaped corridors called break out spaces. These are sort of open-plan classrooms with people walking past. Music practice rooms seem to be designed to sort out the claustrophics from the rest; and small enough to let sweat and other odours build up really really fast. And what they save on heating bills with having no windows, they make up for on lighting bills. And there's nothing like hours of artificial light to cheer a person up!

Some of these new builds have gone ahead [in Leeds, West Leeds and Wortley was an extraordinary example of this] only if two schools are merged, and this always despite massive public opposition. Some parents, some people are lured into thinking that new is good, and after all the money is spent, and the comfortable spacious old classrooms knocked down, who is going to come and say, This is worse.

No one, because you have to make the best of a bad job, because there is nowhere now to go. The money is spent and no-one is going to rebuild a new build.

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