Post-occupancy evaluation of primary schools
: a multi-stakeholder perspective

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The UK government, under the Primary Capital Programme, is planning to rebuild or refurbish approximately half of all primary schools by 2022/23. The aim is to create primary schools that are equipped for 21st century teaching and learning. Around £7 billion will be invested in the scheme with £1.9 billion of the budget being spent 2008-11, £650 million for all local authorities in 2009-10 and £1.1 billion in 2010-11. However, this substantial investment will only meet the target of providing a 21st century educational environment, with opportunities for exemplary teaching and learning, if the design of new and refurbished schools is fit for this purpose. The research set out to answer the question ‘How can all user groups be involved in the evaluation of newly built primary schools?’ This question was addressed by achieving the aim of developing a post-occupancy evaluation toolkit specifically for primary schools which accounted for the views of all stakeholders. The research focussed on primary schools in the city of Coventry in the UK West Midlands and was conducted in two phases: an examination of schools built before the introduction of a model brief in 1996 and an evaluation of schools that were built using its guidance. The findings from the initial case studies indicated issues to be addressed in the design of the toolkit. Following the initial case studies in pre-1996 schools, the research focussed on five recently built primary schools that were constructed according to the guidelines contained in Coventry’s model brief. At the time of commencing the research, six primary schools had been built using this framework. However, there had been no attempt to evaluate the schools to establish whether they met the needs of all stakeholders. The post-occupancy evaluation toolkit that was developed took a multi-stakeholder perspective on primary school builds and resulted in findings which indicate the variability in responses between different stakeholder groups and schools. The research concluded that the post-occupancy toolkit can provide information on school buildings, from a multi-stakeholder perspective, which may be useful architects and designers. It also proposes an approach to primary school design which accounts for the variability in the needs of diverse stakeholder groups and the individuality of each school, including their geographical location.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAndree Woodcock (Supervisor) & Philip Dunham (Supervisor)


    • education
    • educational ergonomics
    • UK primary schools
    • school buildings
    • school refurbishment
    • school design
    • teaching and learning

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