Undiscovered territory

Sian
Sunday 28 Feb 2010

The Space for Personalised Learning team provide West Hill Primary with a newfound ecosystem of space and flexibility

Space for Personalised Learning is a DCSF / PfS project that aims to research the spatial implications of Personalised Learning. As part of the project, a number of pilot spaces are being created in selected schools, each space reflecting the school's interpretation of Personalised Learning.

One pilot, West Hill Primary, is a small, multicultural, multiracial one-form entry school housed in a Victorian triple-decker building in central Wandsworth. Many of the pupils are from disadvantaged backgrounds and several initiatives have been undertaken by the school aiming to increase the pupils' readiness to learn through developing their social and emotional well being, enabling them to realise their full potential.

An educational brief was developed in workshops with pupils, teachers and governors. A sample of the school's ‘Enquiry-based Creative Curriculum’ was studied and the activities they wished to foster were identified based around pedagogical change towards a more collaborative and personal approach. An under-used hall was identified as the best space in the school for the pilot space and a strategy for the design of the space was developed based on these activities.

Zones are dedicated to small and large groups with areas for wet / messy small group hands-on learning, large group learning, quiet time and reflection. Space use is intuitively indicated via the use of bold colour, large-scale graphics and imagery through the use of suspended fabric banners and transparent coloured film applied to glazing. The staff at the school are now experimenting with the space and focusing on changing their approach to teaching using the newfound flexibility the environment provides. Acting as both an independent room and part of an ecosystem of spaces, the hall is used for a wide variety of group sizes from one on one mentoring to double classes. Most importantly, the pupils love learning there.

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