Wednesday, 13 October 2010

External Environments - Dining

I spent some time recently talking with students from a couple of schools in the UK, a mainstream secondary and also a secondary EBD school. The conversation on both occasions veered towards dining facilities. (Many will know that all conversations about school environments always revert to dining, toilets, lockers and stairwells at some stage).

What is surprising to some staff is that students always seem to ask if they can have an external dining space, despite the UK weather. They DO know how they work and what they want. Any school placing seating outside knows that it is always used. I'm not really sure why this would be a surprise - many students love being outside.
The secret is to make such areas similar to the professional environments as they see in every other aspect of their lives in shopping centres streets and so on. Why shouldn't they be of high quality?
One teacher in a school surrounded by featureless asphalt recently noted that:"its only for the kids - why bother?". Oh dear.... and they wonder why the school has problems issues at breaktimes!!

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