If school is to be an effective place of learning it must cater for many dimensions of need in its pupils. The need for emotional and physical security is paramount.
This infographic provides an efficient point of departure for holding a debate about what your school is doing to meet these needs.
The information took me back to my time on secondment at the RSA Academy. I was engaged to be their internal consultant on the development of ICT. We were about to undertake the re-design of the Academy and the Sorrell Foundation was engaged to bring the student voice into the design process.
It was clear in the seminars that the pupils placed a high value on physical safety and they knew potential pinch points contained within the original school which they didn’t want to replicate.
One area around which they had particular concerns was the toilets. Previously they were placed at the end of corridors, often in the darkest areas of the school. As they were housed behind a door, they were places associated with both bullying and other anti-social behaviour. The students came up with an innovative solution… the toilets should be in the central corridor of the school with a wide entrance without a door. That meant that anyone, such as a teacher, passing the toilets could see the area between the cubicles and the washbasins and it would not be an area where pupils could gather with nefarious intent.
The entrances to many of the classroom blocks should be external to the building so that all activity in these areas was visible to viewers on each of the three floors of the buildings.
The roof space was also developed, on student suggestion to be a learning area, initially for Science with a weather station and other experimental kit housed there, as well as quiet study areas available in good weather.
The architects were inspired by the student suggestions and were able to incorporate them all into the final design of the building. Incidents of bullying and anti-social behaviour plummeted when the new building was commissioned.