Pupil voice

Pupil voice

Felicity Robinson, LTL Associate, loves how Bayards Hill consulted children and staff in developing the brief for the redesign of their outside space.

I am really impressed by the commitment this school displayed in engaging children and staff in developing the brief for the re-design of their grounds.  I’m sure that they will end up with much better value for money as a result.

They really grasped the challenge of enabling children to articulate what they want to do outside, rather than what it is they want to have, enabling a much wider range of design solutions to be explored.

The school was great to work with because they fully took on board the Learning through Landscapes ‘process of change’.  They started by reviewing the existing external environment, how it worked and related to the internal environment.  Positive and negative features of their grounds were noted and key learning experiences, for example, imaginative play, that were not provided for were also recorded.

As they turned to consider ‘where they wanted to get to’, staff worked well together to develop a shared vision.  They agreed that their grounds should offer “space and stimuli to encourage and develop learning, relationship building and fun!” and “challenge, adventure and freedom to enhance the learning experience”.

With a little guidance, the school looked externally for inspiration. With the adventurous theme in mind, children were taken on visits to help extend their thinking about what might be possible.  They were able to clamber in and onto trees, make dens and play in mud, water and sand at a local country park, before making models of some ideas from which imaginative themes emerged.
 
These visits were followed up with a series of workshops supported by landscape architects and engineers which focused on specific issues, such as types of activity, typography and model building structures, mood and colour.

The approach to the project enabled an enjoyable and educational way of engaging children.  A ‘shadow design team’ was selected from every class. These children took an active role through the whole process of development from inception to completion of the brief and became key ambassadors for the project.

Every class took part in the project during term one, contributing specific pieces of information to the overall brief, such as which species of wildlife they wanted the grounds to support to designing a Roman amphitheatre.  This process enabled every child and staff member to have an opportunity for engagement.

Results of all activities were recorded throughout as an evolving photo-story.  The combination of keywords, images and quotes from children and staff resulted in a very comprehensive briefing document.   A summary has been written in the form of a check list, against which design solutions and equipment selection can be tested.  I am sure they will end up with fantastic grounds which meet children’s needs.

“The most positive features of this Learning through Landscapes project are the absolutely brilliant ideas from the children which helped produce a presentation for the design and build contractor.  It has strengthened links between all staff and institutions that are co-locating.  This project has been well led and directed and the pupils have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into producing an exciting brief.”  Headteacher.

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Learning through Landscapes

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