The environment in which children learn is vitally important. We are recognising through more research that many historic school buildings are beautifully designed and were built to last. Some reflect changes in educational practice and have historical significance too, and many are landmark buildings which mean so much to local communities.
English Heritage wants to ensure that historic schools are protected and enhanced so they can continue to provide a stimulating and beautiful environment for children of the future.
A recent survey carried out by English Heritage shows that the public do value older school buildings. Two thirds think that refurbishing and extending old schools is more environmentally friendly than demolishing them and rebuilding new ones. Almost half feel that schools with historic character provide a more inspiring educational environment.
English Heritage is calling on all those who make decisions about the future of an existing school to:
- consider sustainability and intrinsic architectural and historic interest in deciding about the future maintenance and use of the school building;
- carefully consider the potential of the existing school building to be upgraded and re-used, and that such consideration should take place from a very early stage in the process;
- demand higher quality design from architects that can make skilful adaptations to the existing structure;
- recognise that older school buildings need not be energy inefficient.Recent research commissioned by English Heritage showed that even simple repairs and basic improvements significantly reduce draughts and heat loss, and that using a combination of these methods will upgrade most original sash windows to meet building regulations.
- School refurbishment guidance
Get practical guidance on thinking through refurbishment, remodelling, energy efficiency and design issues.
Refurbishing Historic School Buildings
01 Jan 2010
Despite recent changes in capital investment programmes for school buildings, funding for refurbishment and replacement is likely to continue in certain cases although at much reduced levels. This guidance offers useful advice on common issues involved in refurbishing historic school buildings and strategies to address them. It also identifies a series of case studies where historic school buildings have been successfully modernised and updated to create inspirational 21st century learning environments.
- Get involved
Find out what you can do to save a school from demolition and secure its future.
- New concise history
School buildings represent a hugely important element of England’s heritage. A new book from English Heritage explains why.
England's Schools: History, architecture and adaptation
15 Jan 2010
Raises awareness of the wide range of school buildings built in England from the Reformation to the Millennium. Summarises the development of schools and looks at the adaptation of older schools to modern needs and new uses for schools around the country