Historic Midland schools should be preserved as they provide a "powerful source of community identity", say heritage campaigners.
English Heritage has launched its campaign after the Government announced its Building Schools for the Future initiative, which represents the biggest school building and refurbishment programme for 50 years.
This has led to many of England's historic schools being redeveloped, and in extreme cases, demolished.
The call for restraint comes only days after plans were announced to demolish Moseley's Centre 13. The 177-yearold building was previously Moseley National School teaching poor children from local farming communities.
English Heritage has produced a new policy document, entitled The Future of Historic School Buildings, which outlines how to safeguard the most important aspects of our historic schools while still enabling change.
The campaign group has identified the Ikon Gallery in Brindleyplace as as example of how a threatened school building can be brought back into life.
The building, which dates from 1878, housed Oozells Street School until slum clearance saw a decrease in demand for school places in the early 20th century.
The neo-gothic building was then put to a variety of uses, including an infants school, a girls grammar school, a theatrical costume hire department and a road tax office.
Sadly, in the mid-twentieth century, the tower was demolished, and the building fell into decay.
However, the site was revitalised in the 1990s when the building played a key role in the Brindleyplace project. It was refurbished and converted into a contemporary arts venue, and became Ikon Gallery in
John Yates, historic buildings inspector for English Heritage West Midlands, said: "We have some wonderful historic school buildings in the West Midlands, and we are
keen to see all of them serving their present and future communities, whilst still telling their stories from the past.
"As well as their beautiful architecture, there is always valuable local history associated with historic schools."
He added: "With imagination, most of these fine buildings can continue as schools, but they can also be put to a wide range of uses.
"Ikon Gallery is a wonderful example of an old school building conversion where it has been put to a completely different use. It is now a showpiece of Brindleyplace, and makes a unique contribution to the culture of the City of Birmingham."
The English Heritage document recognises that schools may need to change to cater for modern requirements needed for new IT facilities and multipurpose learning spaces.
However, the group is urging local councils to understand the value the history of their schools before taking decisions to demolish them.
English Heritage Policy Officer Tim Brennan said: "Proposals for change should be sustainable, based on an understanding of the architectural and historical significance of the school and the way in which it is valued by the community.
"Historic schools can often be the most prominent building in a community after the parish church. The shared experience they represent, sometimes stretching across many generations, can be a powerful source of community identity and cohesion."