Design ideas for The Steadings Primary School
On Friday 13 January 2023, a group of 12 pupils from The Corinium Education Trust joined David Wint and Joe Roberts, architectural consultants from Roberts Limbrick, at their prestigious offices in Gloucester for an important meeting about the development of The Steadings, a new primary school for the new residential area in Cirencester. They were accompanied by Chiquita Henson, Trust Lead (CEO), Katie Cook, Head of Siddington C of E Primary, and Rachael Scott, School Improvement Lead (Primary), who have been working with the architects Robert Limbrick, Bathurst Developments Limited and Gloucestershire County Council on initial designs for the school which is currently scheduled to open on its permanent site in 2027-28.
‘I was concerned to ensure we took account of pupils’ views in preparation for the design of our new school. It was a privilege to listen to them and their ideas. They were excellent ambassadors for The Corinium Education Trust and their schools.’ Chiquita Henson, Trust Lead (CEO).
Three pupils from each school, representing Years 5-7, were chosen by their headteachers to engage in this important pupil voice group to help the architects understand their perspectives on school design. After initial introductions, the pupils were encouraged to think about the features of their current schools they like and dislike and then to share and explain their responses. The lists that were generated were then prioritised. This helped the group achieve a consensus over what was most important to them.
‘It was inspiring to be in a working office! I felt like a grown up.’ Jack.
‘I thought it was good to socialise with other children across the schools.’ Milo.
‘It was something completely different that I've never done before!’ Dan.
The pupils definitely enjoyed working together and with the architects too. They were very articulate and creative. They came up with lots of good ideas which were recorded by the architects for future reference. They were not afraid to be critical and, as daily users of their schools, they definitely thought about aspects of school design that were not necessarily on the adults’ radars! Specific topics that came up included indoor spaces for wet playtimes and sheltered areas outside, play equipment and green spaces, access to toilets and cloakrooms, quiet spaces and specialist rooms to support the curriculum and wellbeing.
Before lunch, and in preparation for the afternoon session in which pupils worked in mixed school groups to design their ‘dream school’, David Wint shared some contemporary school designs from all around the world. These definitely sparked the pupils’ curiosity and led to lots of questions. Their own school designs, which they presented at the end of the session, showed they had significantly broadened their understanding of school design and each team impressed the architects with their commitment to sustainability, care for each other and determination to create a welcoming learning environment that brings everyone joy!
‘If I have children, they'll come to this school.’ Noah.
‘And I'll bring my children and say 'I designed this' and it will make me so proud.’ Mylie.