Skip to main content

Putting learners first

18 Oct 2023
Main Stage

Muyiwa Oki, President, RIBA

Details to follow

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.

Designed to Put People First
Philip Watson, Director and Amy Hipwell, Senior Interior Designer, HLM Architects

This dual delivered presentation from an architect and interior designer will explore how digital tools can help identify the aspects of the built environment that are important to building user’s wellbeing, how resultant design responses can be tested to see if they are delivering against these ambitions, and then measure the success of these in the completed building.

This talk will share the learning from a new approach to design that is centred on people where aspects of wellbeing that are normally considered subjective are quantified and measured using analytical tools. It will showcase real examples of high-profile education projects where these tools have been deployed – at the Universities of Sheffield, St Andrews, King’s College and Keele - and reveal the measurable benefits of a human-centred design approach.

Panel Session speakers:

  • Jennifer Singer, Head of Capital Programme Advisory  – schools and colleges, Department for Education
  • Dr Jenny Russell, Director of Education & Learning, RIBA


Sarah Williams, RIBA Client Adviser and architect - S Williams Architects
Jennifer Singer, Head of Capital Programme Advisory – schools and colleges - Department for Education
Jenny Russell, Director of Education and Learning - RIBA
Muyiwa Oki, President - RIBA
Sharon Wright, Senior Associate - the-Learning-crowd
Helen Taylor, Director of Practice - Scott Brownrigg
Philip Watson, Director and Head of Design - HLM Architects
Amy Hipwell, Senior Interior Designer - HLM Architects



Event Partner


Sponsor Partners


Event Supporters