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Putting learners first

18 Oct 2023
Main Stage

Briefing for Wellbeing
Sharon Wright, Senior Associate, the-learning-crowd & Helen Taylor, Director of Practice, Scott Brownrigg

Our research has gathered evidence on some of the key issues around wellbeing in our schools, and reviewed different approaches to tackling this challenging area. Evidence shows that some pupils do not feel safe in schools, that the outside world could be frightening, especially for vulnerable children, and that loneliness is an issue for a quarter of pupils. Our view is that while school design cannot take away the economic, environmental or social issues that young people are worried about, it can provide safe, sustainable, inclusive and healthy places that support the great work that schools are doing to ensure pupil wellbeing and to developing their skills to be resilient and emotionally intelligent. A greater emphasis is needed on these aspects of the brief, along with a better understanding of how school facilities can support staff, families and communities with their health and wellbeing.

There is no single, agreed definition of wellbeing that we can draw on to consider how school buildings and grounds might better contribute to this important agenda. In the absence of this, we have looked at the range of different approaches to understanding and articulating wellbeing, and particularly where it they are used in educational settings. As a result we have put forward our own definition - set out in our “School Wellbeing Pyramid” – to help us better frame the contribution of the design process and the resulting architecture.

We will share our research and explore how the findings can be used in the briefing process and through the design of new education buildings.

We will use case studies and practical examples to draw conclusions that help us to better deliver a design brief that has wellbeing at its heart.

Post Occupancy Evaluation for Schools: Putting staff and pupils at the centre of POE
Kathryn Phillips, Associate, HLM Architects & Dr Karolina Szynalska McAleavey, University of Lincoln

We spend our formative years in schools and the quality of the environment we experience shapes our social behaviours, our ability to learn and to succeed. While the vision for new school facilities and their resultant design ambitions can be very noble and progressive, the design and construction industry is notoriously poor at assessing the impact that built assets have on the people who use them – both staff and pupils.

This talk will share the learning from a new approach post-occupancy evaluation where staff and pupils are the centre of engagement. Where the questions being asked have been designed to understand how pupils and staff really feel about their learning environments and how this impacts their ability to learn and teach. This digital approach to POE, gathering data across a broad spectrum of schools, has been developed in collaboration between HLM Architects and Dr McAleavey from the University of Lincoln who’s PhD centred on POE with school children. It reveals some significant findings and will be of interest to everyone concerned with investment in facilities and delivery of education.

Sarah Williams, RIBA Client Adviser and architect - S Williams Architects
Sharon Wright, Senior Associate - the-Learning-crowd
Helen Taylor, Director of Practice - Scott Brownrigg
Kathryn Phillips, Associate - HLM Architects
Karolina Szynalska McAleavey - University of Lincoln



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