Thursday, 28 February 2013

Fab Schools

I was fortunate to be able to visit a fabulous primary school in Barry Island recently.  Anyone that has worked in schools can tell masses about the culture and ethos of a school they are visiting in just a few minutes of arriving.

The mosaic mirror placed in the foyer of this school was made by pupils.  Yes there was a local artist to guide them, but every piece of it was actually constructed by the young people.  They didn't just watch it happen as so often happens.

As I and an Associate in the-learning-crowd measured an external area, lots of pupils came up anxious to find out what we were doing and offering to help.  Of course we took them up on it when we could.

There were other examples of this positive engaged approach involving pupils helping create their environment all round the school, external walls, displays and so many other places. It looked like a fab school - it was a fab school!

Passive Supervision - NOT!

I still can't believe how many new buildings I get to see round that have taken every opportunity to design in elements of passive supervision to help monitor student behaviour, which then get scuppered by inappropriately placed furniture.

I recently toured a new school just days before students began using it and already furniture is being wrongly placed to stop that supervision before it's been used.  It's a senior staff office at a critical junction of the school.  It's a school that needs to monitor students carefully with staff that stated that they wanted to be able to see more.  The Head and senior staff were consulted throughout the design process.

Thankfully the Head has said that the cabinet will be moved and a strict glass policy introduced.  (i.e: nothing on or blocking vision panels.)  I'm going back in a few weeks time - I really hope that it has been moved.  It's always harder later on if a culture of blocking views into classrooms has started.

I'm told it will be moved - I hope it will be!  (Watch this space)