David Burchett, LTL Operations Manager, loves . . . how pupils at South Camden Community School gained work experience by working with contractors on the school site.
Many schools shy away from having a construction project taking place on site in term-time, but this school positively embraced it to create a fantastic work-related project for its Key Stage 4 pupils.
I love the clever design of the project. Students shadowed the work of the main contractor, who was primarily responsible for the hard landscaping, and simultaneously ran their own contract to plan and implement the soft landscaping.
As well as enhancing the quality of the central quad, a previously uninspiring space, this great project raised pupils’ awareness of the construction industry as a potential employer. Students engaged with a range of professions and trades such as surveying, engineering, planning and design, landscape architecture, horticulture and building trades including bricklaying and carpentry.
Learning about various building trades and resistant materials used offered a great opportunity for enhancing the delivery of the Design and Technology curriculum.
With the help of an LTL Associate, students developed an understanding of the roles of client and designer and were helped to understand the hard landscape contract. Every opportunity was taken to enable students to develop project management, specification and work planning skills.
Each student carried out a measured site survey and produced a scale plan of the site for their soft landscape work. Later they compared this with professionally produced site plans.
The LTL Associate supported students to conduct a site assessment and identify constraints and opportunities that would influence their choice of plants. As well as using reference books, students visited a garden centre where they discussed their needs with a senior manager. They produced a shortlist of plants and worked out a budget cost for the scheme before placing their order – including negotiating a discount! While at the garden centre, they talked to a range of staff, including checkout cashiers, the office manager and trainees about their jobs.
The planting was carried out by students, following health and safety training to ensure correct use of tools and safe lifting techniques. They also installed an irrigation system. As a finishing touch, they visited a stone merchant to select eight geological specimens to create a learning resource in the quad.
The school also exploited the practical nature of the project to develop and accredit the development of soft skills, such as teamwork and problem solving, as well as IT and numeracy. Throughout the project pupils reflected on their learning using evidence sheets based on the needs of the ASDAN award scheme. Every student who completed the portfolio of evidence, in the form of reflection sheets, a scale drawing and planting plan, received a personalised certificate for their records of achievement.
“The positive benefit of this project for the young people involved was the feeling of ownership, of doing something real, on a large scale and lasting.” headteacher.