Thursday, 8 September 2011

Learning from new school build

Several school build projects I am involved with have got to the stage where construction is just starting. An exciting moment for each school, all of whom who are delighted that the long design process has finally been completed and there is actually something to see happening on site.

BUT, there is so much more that can be done rather than just watch what is happening (if you can see over the hoardings!!). There are just so many learning opportunities from every aspect of the build process that can be easily slotted into the curriculum and give context and reality to the concepts being studied in classrooms.
I am delighted to now be working with three schools who have taken the challenge extremely seriously. This is not about lip service to learning from the build process but actually about the schools being extremely proactive and structured about the approach to the numerous learning opportunities. Even more importantly is their focus that students will be instrumental in leading and communicating the learning. Early strategies include:
  • Having a student group to do liaise with the Project Manager each week and work to share the information including write a weekly blog,
  • An identified staff member allocated to guide the process,
  • A staff curriculum group identifying learning opportunities and context
  • A time lapse camera recording every aspect of the build
  • Plans for informing, communicating, sharing, learning for students, staff, parents, community and more
  • Identifying the widest rage of careers education opportunities
All these ideas would not be possible without extremely enthusiastic and supportive Project Managers and the the very accommodating construction company; Balfour Beatty.
I have heard so many schools and companies claim how much they intend to do to learn from building projects. The reality is most usually very different and if any liaison / work does actually happen it usually can be described as no more than 'lip service' or tokenism.
I am excited about the proactive plans for the schools I am working with in London on this idea. I sense a real determination for the learning opportunities for students to be an additional core priority for the schools... I hope so and am excited about the early ideas.
The scale of development that BSF brought to many schools was a unique opportunity for schools - surely every one of theme should have seized the massive learning opportunities possible. Unfortunately all too few have! I will report more as the ideas start to develop.. so watch this space!

No comments: