Joinedupdesign for Building Schools for the Future
Joinedupdesign for BSF asks pupils how they would like to improve the design of their schools.
It was developed as part of Building Schools for the Future, a government investment programme designed to rebuild or refurbish all state secondary schools in England. This investment aimed to transform pupils’ educational experiences by ensuring that each school’s physical spaces effectively supported teaching and learning.
Joinedupdesign for BSF adapts the Foundation’s joinedupdesignforschools model, which gives schoolchildren the role of clients. Pupils form a client team and professional designers and architects are appointed to work for them. Together they engage in a client/consultant relationship. Over a series of workshops, inspirational visits and meetings, the pupil clients identify what they want for their new schools and the consultants help them to articulate this.
The young clients create a Pupils’ Brief, which sets out the issues they feel most important to the successful design and future sustainability of their school. In response, the consultants generate design concepts that the client teams present to local authority stakeholders and school governors at a special celebration event.
“I’ll be feeling very proud of my involvement. Look what I’ve helped with, look what I’ve done! It’s raised my morale and it’s raised the morale of the rest of the team”.
“I have heard a lot of wisdom from these young people. Very thoughtful, articulate views and ideas”.
“The [pupils’] brief had such vigour, life and enthusiasm. It was really stimulating. It was the key that unlocked the whole process. It was highly intelligent – all about light, space, environment, even acoustic separation. Very profound”.
“The pupils have been acting as the client to professionals, engaging in all sorts of dialogues and processes, consulting with our staff, governors, students. The skills that they’ve used in this are phenomenal”.
Client teams continue their engagement, contributing to decision-making, and collaborating with architects and planners. The young people’s work directly informs the project’s design and build, providing valuable insights from the school’s future users. Clients learn important life skills, they develop in confidence, and they become more engaged in school life.
The Sorrell Foundation developed a similar model, joinedupdesign for Primary Capital Programme (PCP), in response to secondary government investment for the rebuilding or refurbishment of primary schools in England.