Exclusive: Seated breaktimes – concerns grow over cramped school buildings

Union to survey members over concerns about school building programme.


A union is planning to survey its members over growing concerns about schools operating in buildings that are too small for them – including one school that has been forced to introduce a regime of "seated breaktimes".


The NASUWT teaching union will question members who work in schools that have been included in the government's flagship Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP).


Wayne Bates, a national negotiating officer, says the union has heard “a lot of stories about very poor-quality rebuilding, and teachers not being happy with things like corridor width and the size of classrooms”. He adds: “It’s two issues: we have got, perhaps, rebuilds that are not big enough, but we also have these schools that are bursting at the seams.”


There have also been concerns about sites that have been found for some free schools.


When councillors were considering the planning application for Bolingbroke Academy, which opened in 2012 in the grade II-listed home of the former Bolingbroke Hospital in Wandsworth, southwest London, the chief concern was that “the site was not large enough for the proposed school to accommodate up to 800 pupils”. The secondary now has a regime of seated breaktimes for Year 7 pupils. 


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