Telford students design a space to ‘work rest and play’

Working with architect Alison Davies and creative professional Jeremy Brown, the Year 7 students developed the design brief and identified constraints and opportunities. They explored other sites to gain an understanding of design principles, including Penn Hall School, Wolverhampton and Telford Town Park, as well as making several trips to analyse the site itself. The students identified constraints and opportunities, used maps and aerial photos to construct a topographic model, and went on to develop the design brief and finally a sketch plan with outline costings.

The students have seen the potential to “do German outside and learn the words for outdoors things”, have a telescope to look at the stars, and do science experiments outdoors. They have suggested cameras to watch wildlife at night and want to create places “to talk to someone when you are upset or lonely”. (This has since provided inspiration for the next phase of the project - see Designing a sacred space.)

Because teachers now know about the space, they are using it in their lesson plans, despite no physical changes taking place. It is being used for science, with students analysing water samples, and the neighbouring primary school has used it for an outdoor adventure. Art classes have taken place outside, with students having worked with artists to create bird sculptures for the space, spending a day on a wildlife photoshoot with a professional photographer, and working with a wood scupltor to design a new entrance to the space. 

Co-ordinated by MADE and funded through Find Your Talent, the students exhibited their work at a summer open evening and gave a presention to the governors, with the aim of developing funding bids to transform the space in easy-to-manage phases in the future. 

Students have re-designed an outdoor space at their school so it can be used for learning, recreation and wildlife. Originally set aside as a wildlife garden, the space is under-used and isolated – indeed, few students or teachers knew it was there.