About ten years ago I applied to take part in some interesting research about school buildings.
The ad was for artists to imagine how to make school buildings better; the main focus was the fact that contemporary teenagers were getting too large for secondary school corridors, which were becoming congested with a consequent increase in bullying.
I have been reading today about the importance of 'flow' in schools and how it helps teachers to keep an eye on vulnerable pupils, and the pupils themselves to keep an eye on their own concept of learning.
Of course, The Idiot Gove wants clip-together schools with narrow corridors, concealed stairs and square rooms. This type of building will be cheaper to build and require less 'architecture' to create.
I couldn't participate in the research although I really enjoyed pitching for a chance to do it; I was teaching on the afternoons that they wanted us to meet, unforchly. But I could see how important it was to design, for want of a better word, gentle buildings. Brutal architecture may seem practical but I don't think people that are put in boxes to work or learn can be expected to work to their best abilities. And crammed corridors will lead to lateness, aggression and alienation. In ten years time the prefab buildings will have to be demolished and more practical buildings constructed in their place.
Perhaps Gove has read of the Russian Government's panic about its over-educated workforce who don't want to do the crappy jobs that were traditionally given to the less-educated people in society, so he wants to deliberately design uncomfortable buildings that make it difficult for pupils to study.
Do I sound like a communist if I suggest that these awful jobs- cleaners, dustmen and the like- ought to be better paid to compensate those who have to clear up after those who have more comfortable and status-led jobs?
Business-heads often seem to say that they have worked very hard for their money and therefore don't want to pay huge taxes on it. This implies that those who do the sh*t jobs in our society don't work hard! I have watched the cleaners at work and heard them talk about the number of jobs they have to do to earn a decent wage, and how they want to study to better themselves- when and if they ever have time have time.
I hereby support the London Transport cleaners in their campaign for a decent wage.
Remember this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-aRNW-Rst4
And Gove, use your heart as well as your head; don't embark on a scheme of building follies! Surely you are not such a fool?