Wednesday, 22 April 2009

21st century - Centres for Learning - Knowsley

I was fortunate to visit the new Centre for Learning in Haleswood, Knowsley last week to discuss a potential future project. The largest of the seven new Centres of Learning being built, it is just in the process of being completed. It is a truely remarkable building being really spectacular and on the very cutting edge of new 21st century design for learning environments. These buildings are being delivered as part of the U.K's very ambitious and commendable 'Building Schools of the Future' programme (BSF)

The very radical design will not be to the taste of every teacher, headteacher or local authority, but it was designed to meet the specific vision identified by Knowsley of very agile learning spaces which will really encourage a very wide variety of learning styles to take place. With very few traditional classroom spaces the result meets the demands of the vision. It is truely exciting, but will also be challenging as well until learners and staff are really comfortable with the many opportunities that the new buildings offer.

Amongst the design features in this building which, is built loosely along the 'schools within a school' model, food serveries are scattered near home bases, student bathrooms are unisex and open with no 'external fuourth wall' providing plenty of passive supervision and around the building there is lots of transparency into learning spaces.

Whilst I was there, students who will transfer to these spaces were being shown round by their teachers. Frankly they looked 'blown away' by the new look spaces. They are certainly differnt to the standard classrooms in many schools.

There is already a great deal of international interest in these designs and there will be many visitors from all over the world in the forthcoming months and years.

With two of the seven new centres open already with the rest on target for completion within a year, the secondary learning environments of Knowsley are certainly exciting. I hope that the learning that takes place within them is just as exciting.


Anonymous said...

Bathrooms? You mean toilets. The toilets are a really big issue to a lot of people - staff, students and parents. The only people who don't have a problem with the toilet situation are those who have their own private facilities.

Gareth Long said...

Thanks for the comment - see post dated 4th May. These student bathrooms (or toilets) are certainly not unique to Knowsley.

Anonymous said...

have the home bases now become subject bases? teachers are finding it difficult to transport stuff around the building, so the children are having to move instead?

Anonymous said...

If the home bases have become subject bases, how is registration done? There are so many questions to be asked about these new 'Centre for Learning's. Is there anywhere online we can find out proper information about these new schools? It seems to be all heresay and gossip. Please tell us some proper hands on, classroom-teacher interested stuff. (Yes, I know there are no typical classrooms in Knowsley). There are some of us who still are in classrooms in the rest of the world, who want to know whether it is worth applying for jobs there!

Anonymous said...

"What a challenging learning space to work in. When will I be really comfortable with the many opportunities that the new buildings offer? The students looked blown away. Exciting!"
Teachers get out now. It is a complete disaster.