HC Deb 23 June 1981 vol 7 cc87-8W
Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the basis for the figure of 6.5 square metres of floor space as being the equivalent of one place in a secondary school; and if he will provide the breakdown of that figure into different types of floor space in secondary schools;

(2) what studies were made prior to his determination that 6.5 square metres of floor space constituted an adequate and sufficient area for determining the minimum floor space for secondary schools; and what post-use studies have been carried out;

(3) what information he has concerning the floor space per pupil in private secondary schools with which he has made an agreement for implementing the assisted places scheme.

Dr. Boyson

The Department keeps under close review, in consultation with local authorities, the relationship between curriculum, design and teaching and non-teaching area for all types of schools. The development group of architects and building branch undertakes design projects on a regular basis in co-operation with local authorities and the Department monitors the areas of individual local authority building projects. It is as a result of this work that, in reviewing the Standards for School Premises Regulations 1972, my right hon. and learned Friend has decided to increase the minimum teaching area for the higher age groups in primary schools. But he has concluded that no adjustment is necessary to the minimum teaching area for secondary schools, and hence to the space standards of 6.5 square metres gross area per place for a well designed new secondary school.

An approximate breakdown, set out on page 19 of the Department's report, "A Study of School Building", of the 3.9 square metres teaching area within the total of 6.5 square metres per place is:

per cent.
Large Spaces 15
General Purpose Teaching 45
Light Practical 30
Heavy Practical 10

The actual distribution of the total space will vary according to the needs of particular schools and local authorities.

The Department has no information about floor space in schools participating in the assisted places scheme. Independent schools registered with the Department are not required to comply with the Standards for School Premises Regulations but it is common practice for both the Department and the schools to use the regulations as a guide to the provision they should make.