I first read about this back in February in the Guardian, but thought it was just a journalistic way of filling up the print inches and therefore thought no more about it. Then, yesterday’s Sunday Times seemed to imply that the removal of a requirement to provide staff spaces in schools was now a fait accompli.
Not to have somewhere to go and simply ‘chill’, in any occupation, must be dire. Even now; self employed and working from home, I have places around the house that I can go to for a change of environment.
Teachers especially (remember that teachers do not ‘work with’ their peers, but with completely different age groups), need their ‘break’ space.
Over and above their role as chilling space and change of environment, staff-rooms have other important socio/academic functions; not least the chance they offer what for many are the best opportunities for sharing and collaboration with colleagues.
Without staff-rooms, how would young/new teachers seek informal advice and guidence? How would all appropriate personnel become aware of the recent death in little Johnie’s family? How would practitioner’s ‘cascade’ newly learned techniques and skills?
We throw away these informal, collaborative places at our peril. It has been tried (and failed) before.
Read: The Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid