The third phase of St Margaret’s Academy participation workshops run by the Schools programme in collaboration with Grounds for Learning (GfL) took place during September and October 2010.
The purpose of the workshops was to engage students and staff in activities which would enable them to think about and generate ideas for potential improvements to their school grounds.
The sessions looked specifically at four different types of external spaces within the school grounds:
- Nature spaces
- Social spaces
- Healthy spaces
- Learning + teaching spaces
A project group was created, formed of 12 students and 4 teachers, representing the different project themes. The group initially worked together in an introductory session before splitting up into their four separate groups for two further workshops focusing specifically on their project theme.
The project themed workshops involved participants in:
- Investigating and analysing current external spaces.
- Thinking about the positive and negative features in relation to the specific themes.
- Looking for inspiration from other schools which have created excellent outside spaces.
- Generating priorities for the specific types of space within their school grounds.
The project group then rejoined for a final feedback session. This workshop involved each theme group feeding back their top 5 priorities and provided an opportunity for participants to think about and record ideas for the next steps and implementation of their ideas.
Download the Priorities Leaflet from the ‘Related Resources’ section on this page or click here to view it online.
Using information gathered in the feedback session from the participants, the Schools Programme generated an Action Plan for the School Grounds which provided the school with a record of ideas to implement. It categorised the priorities into short, medium and long-term projects and collated the next steps for each idea.
Download the Action Plan from the ‘Related Resources’ section on this page or click here to view it online.
Here are some comments from staff and students involved in the project – taken from the Times Educational Supplement (TES) ‘Architects and students work together in school development’ article:
We are much more aware of what pupils want. They are the experts. If you leave it to architects, school grounds may look nice, but they won’t work as well as if you got pupils involved.
Sean McPartlin, Depute
We have felt more in control than you usually do in school. Getting a say in how St Margaret’s is run is much better than it being done by staff.
Ryan, 5th year student
You see another side to teachers. When you are working together it is more of a social relationship. You see their personality. That is what makes this school good.
Matthew, 3rd year student