Caroline Buckingham (13 March, page 36) accuses Cabe’s schools design panel of not giving fair assessments to designs for Building Schools for the Future (BSF)
She is wrong to say that the panel doesn’t understand the context for each scheme, or scores only on the basis of material submitted by the local authority. We always visit sites, grasp the local authority’s educational agenda and are briefed by design teams. Local authority BSF teams are invited to attend the review. Our panel fully understands each brief, the context of the bid and the allocated sites.
She is also wrong to suggest that we don’t appreciate the constraints of refurbishment schemes. We have now reviewed 178 designs for 53 schools in 21 local authorities, which is more than enough to know whether design quality is automatically compromised if you are refurbishing instead of building from scratch. And the answer is, certainly not.
We always visit sites, grasp the local authority’s educational agenda and are briefed by design teams. Local authority BSF teams are invited to attend the review
Diane Haigh, Cabe
It seems obvious to us that when a design falls down on a key aspect, that will affect the entire scheme. We advise on what needs to be done to put it right – and most design teams seize that opportunity. I am delighted that the Department for Children, Schools and Families will be introducing a minimum design standard so that poor designs that fall short cannot receive public funding.
Diane Haigh, director of architecture and design review, Cabe