Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Centre for School Design - Learning Spaces fit for today

I was interested to read the latest blog post by Ian Fordham of the Centre for School Design.

He refers to the local authority approach to designing their new education facilities; the Centres for Learning, which are fab in concept and design. Many people love them, some really don't - I really do like them a lot.
What is interesting is that I have met with a variety of local authority representatives recently who have declared that they really truly represent and demonstrate the clarity of an education vision translated into design. To quote one very senior authority person following a tour of numerous schools: "They are the best seen so far".
The whole point of Ian's article is the boldness and the clarity of thinking in striving to create learning environments that are really fit for learners today. After all we are well into the third millenium now - our spaces should reflect that.
Given the current government budget climate I understand that cuts are inevitable.
However, I believe that education really does need more protection than merely "a higher priority" than other government departments. We need all our young people to achieve real success and develop real aspiration for themselves and their learning. The country depends on the education system - there is much still to be done, we all know that. Working in appropriate and exciting learning environments is a key part of developing a real learning community. We have to continue to be bold, innovative and constantly improving.
I have referred to the Centre for School Design before - it really is a fab resource and one to be followed regularly by all those interested in this area.


Anonymous said...

I really think you need to go to Knowsley to find out the truth. There is a bit of success but there are some major problems. A lot of teachers are leaving the CfLs, a lot of children are leaving as well. Maybe you have some ideas to explain this. Yes I have written before and you often don't print stuff.

Gareth Long said...

Thanks for posting... I do know some of the issues there - but the CfL (Centres for learning) are outstanding designs for learning environments..... if they are right for Knowsley is another issue. They are still attracting real international interest and were world leaders in their design.

However, as you know environments alone will not change everything - there is the whole package that goes with them - massive prework with staff and students (!!!! was this done?), ongoing CPD of staff (and students), appropriate curriculum and pedagogy, support, teamwork - all the buildings do is enhance and provide greater opportunities.

Ongoing evaluations of progress and learner attainment should promise continuous improvement etc etc

The reason I do not always post comments are if I feel they could potentially compromise my independence or my professional relationship with some of my major clients, including construction companies, authorities etc, or if I feel they could negatively impact future work....... (especially in today's post Gove climate).

I will keep in touch with Knowsley - in fact I am visiting the CfLs later this summer - so watch this space.