School Works

1998 - 2000

  • The courtyard, Kingsdale School
  • School art
  • Student participation
  • Student participation
  • A letter of support

The School Works project was a major education initiative organised by The Architecture Foundation, the results of which saw a dramatic and award-winning redevelopment of Kingsdale School by dRMM.

The project explored the following challenges: Millions of pounds are invested in schools annually. However, many schools remain torn, dilapidated, unloved places. How might improvements in secondary school buildings enhance educational achievement? How can the fabric of a school be changed to create a sense of pride and pleasure amongst pupils and staff within existing budgetary constraints? How can the school community be involved in improving their environment? How can schools, LEAs and other agencies work together to ensure that all school buildings become effective places for learning?

Those who work in schools daily, understand the complexity of the issues, prioritise differently and often have simple cost effective solutions that are not evident to the outsider. School Works visited schools, looking at a number of common recurring problems and tested simple, quick, participatory techniques. Common issues included problems with: corridors, toilets, lighting, colours, playgrounds, dining rooms, lockers, dead spaces, staffrooms, litter, graffiti, classrooms, calm rooms, libraries, connecting spaces, meeting places, assembly halls, chairs, windows, noise, boundaries, uniforms, access, entrances.

Enhancing the environment of a school is about creating a sense of pride and ownership for all those who work there. The state of school buildings and the way they are used affects not only day-to-day life in the school, but also the expectations of the whole school community including pupils/students, teaching and support staff, site managers, parents, governors and local residents. School Works recognised that schools are hard pressed to balance their budgets and have difficulty in finding the resources to carry out their urgently needed improvements. It suggested that there was a need to integrate existing means of analysis with processes that realise a school's creative vision of itself.

Supported by