User participation is a key element in decision processes concerning the accommodation of dynamic organisations such as schools. This article addresses the discrepancy between the perspectives of the architects and engineers, as the makers of school buildings, and school management, teachers and students, as the users of the buildings, and proposes that productive and efficient participatory design of school buildings requires appropriate information tools. Visual information technology tools, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), already used in interaction between architects, engineers, consultants, etc., are proposed to support school managers, teachers and students in participating in all stages of the life cycle of their school building. The proposed use of BIM is compared to a retrospective analysis of a Dutch school which realised a completely new secondary education building. The article concludes with recommendations to increase the impact of visual information technology tools such as BIM in the design of school buildings in Europe and beyond.