Something of the character Of the palaces in which public education in this country is to be undertaken has been revealed in the draft Building Regulations issued this week by the Ministry of Education.
The standards demanded apply to all schools, existing and new, county and voluntary.
In the case of existing schools, the Catholic people will have to be responsible for 50 per cent. of the cost of most alterations, though low interest loans can be arranged. In the case of many brand new schools the whole cost of construction, though not equipment, will have to be defrayed by us. The new standards comprise the following : In selecting sites for new schools attention is to be given to the importance of avoiding sites abutting on main traffic routes and of ensuring that children do not have to cross such routes on their way to school. The importance of unrestricted sunlight, avoiding undue exposure to prevailing winds, and the value of trees: and other features are also stressed.
Detailed standards are laid down for lighting. heating. ventilation, hot and cold water supply, sanitation, drainage and sewage disposal, floor loading and the planning of staircases and corridors. All types of schools must have staff rooms, accommodation for medical inspection and treatment, drying facilities and adequate storage provision. Requireirents for cloakrooms, washing and sanitary accommodation are defined for the various types of school, and adequate kitchen accommodation must be provided in day as well as boarding schools for the preparation and serving of school meals. All schools, except the smaller primary schools, must have one or more separate dining-rooms accommndaring at least 65 per cent. of the number of pupils in not more than two shifts.
COUNTY AND VOLUNTARY SCHOOLS
A reduction in the slLe of classes will take place progressively and as speedily as possible to a maximum of 40 in primary and 30 in secondary schools.
The size of the site of every county and voluntary school, including playground space, will vary from half-anacre for the smallest primary school to three acres for a three-form entry secondary school. Playing-field accommodation must be provided in addition, ranging front half-an-acre for the smallest primary schools containing junior children, to fourteen acres for large secondary schools. The site areas may need to be still larger where the curriculum includes gardening. the growing of fruit and vegetables, the keeping of live stock or similar activi All schools with a gymnasium or a playing-field adjoining the site must provide showers and changing rooms; similar accommodation must be provided on playing-fields which are away from the school site.
Schedules at the end of the Regulations prescribe the size and number of rooms to be provided. In the case of primary schools these range from one classroom of six hundred square feet and a spare room of four hundred square feet for the one-class schoel, to ten classrooms, three general purpose rooms and an assembly hall of two thousand four hundred square feet for I
the junior school with a I hrec-form entry.
A wide range of atxuaromodation. including practical roonas, art and craft rooms. library. assembly hall and gymnasium is specified for secondary schools. The exact nature of the accommodation will depend on the type of school and the age to which the children will normally stay. There will be wide scope for discretion for authorities and other bodies in the actual designing of school premises.
FILMS AND RADIO All county and voluntary schools should have arrangements for film projection mid for the use of cpiscopes and should have at least some classrooms wired for broadcast reception. The assembly hall should have a projection room for films and should be wired for broadcast reception. It should have a stage or platform deep enough to pro
vide plenty of sneer,. for acting. The area taken by the stage should he in addition to the areas prescribed for the hall.
The regulations do not prescribe the provision of swimming baths, since the general practice is for the public baths or other communal provision to be used for school purposes. A covered bath may, however. be included as part of the premises of a very large secondary school or fm use by a group of schools. A swimming bath may be used jointly by schools and community centres or establishments for further education.