At the Education Buildings Scotland Conference 2019 we exhibited the five finalists’ entries for the Future Schools Project Award competition, which aims to promote learners as designers of their own learning environments. This competition was open to all City of Edinburgh Council nurseries and schools. Learners were asked to design a space in their school or nursery that would improve teaching and learning, inclusivity and wellbeing.
The finalists were Broughton High and Corstorphine, St Cuthbert’s, St John Vianney and Murrayburn Primaries. We thought it would be a great idea to have the finalists showcase their submissions at the annual Education Buildings Scotland Conference and have the winner announced on stage. The entries were judged by a panel of seven judges with experience of school projects for the future of learning and the public at the conference were also voting for their favourite which counted toward their final score.
We’re glad to say that we’re now working with our development partner, Hub South East to make the winners’ dream a reality. The City of Edinburgh Council has worked with Hub South East over the last 9 years to create fantastic new learning spaces across Edinburgh and now the winners will have this experienced team and its supply chain help bring their ideas to life as the winning design is taken though a Junior Hub process to develop the ideas from concept through to delivery in their school.
Learner voice is so important
We were delighted when the conference organisers and board members gave us use of an amazing space in the conference hall to display the finalist’s submissions. It was a great space with lots of room, which was needed because there were so many visitors to the stall. The learners from the finalist schools presented their research and designs to the conference attendees who were really enthusiastic to see them.
The professionals that work in building schools were keen to hear what the learners had to say. There was a real buzz around the stall, throughout the conference and internationally on Twitter about the competition.
They all did such an amazing job and spoke well about their research and thoughts behind their designs and were very proactive in pitching their ideas to gain some extra points through the public’s vote.
Deputy First Minister, John Swinney visited the stall and listened to each school present their work to him. The finalists talked through their designs, why they had made the decisions they had and showed off their video pitches. The Deputy First Minister asked them a lot of questions and they answered really well using the knowledge they had acquired from all of their great research. Once John Swinney had listened to everyone present, he announced the winner on stage alongside HUB South East’s Richard Park.
All of the finalists did amazing research and design work and we’ll showcase it here on our competition page, until the here is a run down of the outcome of the competition:
St John Vianney RC Primary School
We are a group from Primary 5 at St John Vianney Primary School. Our school is in the Inch on the south side of Edinburgh. Last year when we were in Primary 4 our class decided to enter the Future Schools competition. We have a room called the AV room. Apparently, that stands for ‘audio visual’ room. Once upon a time the room was used for pupils to watch things on the tv, now everybody uses it for everything and uses it in different ways! But the room is old, empty, dull, bland and boring and doesn’t inspire us to learn. We want to create a space that works for everyone. A space that can change and adapt to meet the needs of everyone that uses it. Based on all our research and learning we have now created a design for a room with furniture and storage that can be used in different ways for all the different activities. A room that can be used by individuals, groups or whole classes. We want everyone who uses the room to walk into it and say WOW, this is a fantastic learning and doing space and I want to be here!
Murrayburn Primary School
“Hi, I’m Sampoorna from Murrayburn Primary School and I will tell you about our idea – The STEAM Room. So, our problem identified in stage 1 was that we didn’t have a space where we could learn actively. A place where nobody would mind about getting all messy. But our school doesn’t have enough money or resources to do this. So we thought of The STEAM Room – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. The STEAM Room is a place where all types of learning is possible. It is a room for experiments, messy art, dirty science and lots more. Children will be able to learn how to use skills like apply, analyse and evaluate, some of the key things in active learning.”- Sampoorna, age 10
Sampoorna and her Primary 7 classmates have developed their idea from scratch. They have surveyed the whole school and identified active learning, together with STEAM as areas which the children and staff would like to improve.
Corstorphine Primary School
We are Corstorphine Primary School and we are dreaming of a classroom where the ceiling is the sky. Our design features an innovative wildlife garden classroom for all children in our school community. Working within the heart of our village, our school thrives when we work together and our entry has been designed in consultation with our children, staff, families and community. Our aim is to connect our children back to nature as a stimulus for discovery, to develop sustainability and take the ceiling off our learning. The sky is the limit!
St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School
The St Cuthbert’s Primary School’s team have been working with a lot of enthusiasm for the Future Schools Edinburgh Project Award. We are dreaming of turning our current library from an inefficient multi-purpose room to the heart of our school! The current issues with our library are related to Access, Environment, Inclusivity and differentiation, Resources and space management, Partnership, Teaching and learning. We dream that our library can be transformed to an exciting and inclusive environment in which a plethora of meaningful learning experiences can take place! At St Cuthbert’s we dream of our future school and we work hard together to achieve our goals! We did our very best to turn all our ideas into an effective and flexible design. Helping us bring this design to life will massively improve the learning experiences of all pupils in our school while promoting our design to inspire more schools around Edinburgh and around the world!
Broughton High School
We are a team of S3 pupils from Broughton High School, working on behalf of the pupils, the staff and our local community. We have created a sustainable, multi-functional space, bringing the outdoors indoors. Whilst an integral part of our school, emotionally this is a very different space. Our design brings together several initiatives and projects running within our school and offers an entirely different vibe to benefit the pupils, the staff and our local community.
We have strived to build upon the nurture facilities currently provided within our school. We think all pupils should enjoy coming to school and feel a strong sense of belonging. We believe all parents/carers should feel able to engage with our learning environment. We would love to see the school’s enterprising initiative expand to further develop the employability skills of many pupils. We are an important part of our local community, we rely on our local community and we are endeavouring to improve our partnership working through our design.