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Education Secretary comes to blows with RIBA

Reacting to Education Secretary Michael Gove’s recent announcement that it is crucial “that taxpayers’ money is spent on the front line improving education, and not on consultants, architects or bureaucracy”, RIBA President Ruth Reed has released an official statement, declaring: “It is widely accepted that children’s attainment, happiness and productivity can be much better in buildings that are well designed. Intelligent use of space can foster different ways of learning, and directly affect behaviour and attainment, in a similar way to a workplace environment - think about the success of companies such as Google who radically invest in their office space.”

The move comes after Gove’s repeated slurs against the architecture community Building Schools for the Future programme, under which almost every secondary school in the UK will undergo some level of rebuild or refurbishment. The BSF has come under the scrutiny of the media for all the wrong reasons of late, after Gove accused the architects of ‘creaming off cash’ under the investment programme. Whilst Reed’s comments clearly sting of disappointment at Gove’s comments, she readily admits that money has been wasted under the BSF scheme, noting: “the method for procuring the buildings is inefficient and takes too long. The waste in time and cash is not down to architects, but down to a system that creates unnecessary cost by forcing competing contractors to create three designs, two of which are cast aside when the winner is selected.”

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