How do we want our children to feel during their formative years when they attend school?
It is widely accepted that a person’s physical and mental well-being is influenced by their physical environment and the buildings they spend their time.
The same is true of our children.
Much has been published on the features of our working environment and its impact on our health including research by Public Health England.
Furthermore, the World Green Building Council has shown how the environment of a school building has a tremendous impact on how our children learn and their results
Does your school building help your children to achieve their best?
Has your school’s lighting, temperature, air quality, and acoustics been designed to help optimise your children’s performance?
In England there are approximately 21,200 state-funded schools, which educate almost eight million (7.9m) pupils aged between four and 19 – approximately 93% of all our school children.
The Department for Education (DfE) estimates that in total almost two thirds of the school estate (60%) was built before 1976 and is therefore at least more than 42 years old.
Two fifths of the schools estate (40%) was built between 1945 and 1976.
A further fifth of the school estate was built before 1945 so is more than 70 years old.
Of course, an old school building does not create a bad school.
However, many of our school buildings are not in a good condition.
A National Audit Office report states it would cost £6.7 billion to return all schools to satisfactory or better condition and a further £7.1 billion to bring parts of school buildings from satisfactory to good condition.
And even when these schools have been upgraded and repaired it is true to say that the majority of our schoolchildren in England are being educated in buildings which were designed before their impact on children’s well-being and performance was understood.
The results that can be achieved from investing in buildings to create the right environment in schools are startling.
A study in the US showed a 36% increase in oral reading fluency when children were taught in high-intensity light.
While in Finland a study of children who cited they were learning in a ‘comfortable temperature’ achieved 4% more correct answers in a math test compared to those who were hot.
We are excited to see that improvements can and are being made to our school estate with the DfE investing £4.5 billion to maintain and improve the quality and capacity of the school estate.
At NetZero Buildings we passionately believe children feel safer, happier, healthy, and more inspired when learning in a carbon-neutral schools. With zero running costs for energy we’re helping schools to be able to invest more in the educational experience for our children.
School children are becoming increasingly aware of climate change, future generations will look back and ask why we weren’t quicker to adopt more environmentally friendly buildings for educational and community purposes. Acting now will create a legacy we can all be proud of.