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Designing Schools for the Future
Designing Schools for the Future: a practical guide is a report by Graham Leicester and Rebecca Hodgson of the International Futures Forum (IFF), published by Children in Scotland in 2003. It is available for download below. The report concludes with a set of design criteria to be followed in order to build with the future in mind, and a final chapter on how to translate the theory into practice within a local authority operating the PPP process (public private partnership). It was discussed at the recent Children in Scotland Out of the Box conference on school design at The Lighthouse - and in practice reflects most of the points made during the course of that day about best practice, process and imagination. We publish this report in response to the Scottish Executive's welcome commitment to 'improve school buildings to create a school estate in which all schools have the right facilities, are well designed, well built and provide a flexible environment which continues to meet future needs.'
This is an ambitious goal and one that Children in Scotland and the International Futures Forum support. But it will not be easy to achieve in a world of rapid change, in which the future is radically uncertain and we are required to consider at least a 20 to 30 year time horizon for school buildings. This report on school design originated in work commissioned from IFF by Fife Council. It aims to provide practical guidelines for approaching the task of designing schools for the future in the context of a standard PPP process and with little available resource (time, people, energy) to devote to the kind of creativity and innovation that the future clearly demands.
The report is in four sections:
I: a review of the present state of the education reform debate in the developed world and its implications for school design in the future;
II: a richly illustrated survey of promising practice in innovative school design around the world;
III: a set of design criteria derived partly from this practice that, if followed, can be expected to produce school buildings fit for the changing environment described in section I;
IV: a final section, 'Theory into Practice', detailing how a local authority might make use of these criteria in practice, including the kinds of strategic decisions that need to be made at key points in the process.
This document can be used in practice for a number of purposes: as a source of inspiration; to open up new possibilities e.g. in conversations within a PPP team; as a context setter for participative processes with children, parents and teachers; as a design checklist; as a guide to strategic thinking in advance of initiating a PPP process. The report can also serve a useful purpose for existing schools. We do not necessarily need new builds to apply some of these design criteria in practice - they can also be incorporated into existing asset management strategies. For example, IFF are separately working with an individual primary school in a creative process designed to reimagine existing space.
Children in Scotland, Pinnacle Schools, initial research conducted in a client engagement with Fife Council
Last updated: 3 Dec 2011
The report and its recommendations have been the subject of a number of conference presentations and delivered in workshop format for a number of local authorities and individual schools/ school clusters contemplating new builds or redesign. The work also led to a full day whole school workshop with Greyfriars Primary School on the theme 'design your ideal school'. The children first mapped the primary purposes of school - learning, making friends and having fun - and then designed spaces for those activities. Pupils presented this work at Children in Scotland's 'Out of the Box' conference on school design in summer 2003. The full report is available for download below.
Documents for download
Click on the documents below to download them to your hard disk.
Design Your Ideal School: report of a creative day with Greyfriars Primary School, Fife
This is a record of a full day, whole school activity with Greyfriars Primary School asking first 'what is school for' and then designing the ideal spaces for the principal purposes identified - learning, making friends and having fun
Date: 12 Nov 2011 Size: 1.2MB
Designing Schools for the Future: a practical guide
Report published in 2003 as a practical introduction for schools and local authorities seeking to think through opportunities for new build and/or school redesign. Based on practical experience in Fife and elsewhere.