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An Assessment of the Perceived Design Quality of Recently Opened BSF Secondary Schools

Part 2 Dissertation 2010
Allan Stringer
University of Liverpool | UK
This dissertation assesses the design quality of secondary schools completed under the Building Schools for the Future programme. BSF is/was a controversial educational reform programme that was to result in the largest capital investment in schools since the 1960's. It was established in order to support educational reforms that in turn required more flexible, technology rich learning environments.

Critics have questioned how strong a link there is between these new learning environments and the supposed improvement in teaching practices in secondary schools; in addition doubts have been raised by teaching unions and architects concerning the overall quality of BSF schools. Therefore, the dissertation focuses on the design quality of these schools within the overall context of educational reform under the Labour government.

CABE's 2006 report 'Assessing secondary school design quality' acts as a precedent study for the research work. It analysed the findings of an independent audit into schools built between 2000 and 2005. This presented a research opportunity which is designed and analysed within the dissertation. A questionnaire was written that aimed to establish the views of the building users about the quality of their new school building and the sample group was established as schools built between 2006 and 2009 in order to allow for a comparison with CABE's audit.

Allan Stringer

This dissertation presents a study users’ perception of design quality in relation to BSf secondary schools. Overall, it demonstrates that the candidate has carried out a substantial amount of high quality work on the topic and has pursued his research in an organised and rigorous fashion.
The candidate succeeded in making excellent contributions to the field of design quality assessment in the course of this research. Whilst the content of the dissertation in terms of organisation and its value as a contribution to the field of appraising design quality is of good standard it could have been improved by more detailed critical synthesis and cross referencing between chapters. Nonetheless, the standard of the dissertation in terms of organisation, clarity of writing and illustration is very good.
I believe the work presented in this dissertation has demonstrated the followings
1- the candidate has demonstrated in this work the ability to conduct original investigations and to test his own ideas within an industrial environment
2-A demonstration of awareness of the most recent research in the area
3-a large proportion of the work presented in this dissertation is worthy of publication
4-currently Allan’s work has been edited for publication in a refereed journal

Dr. Halim Boussabaine
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