Upper School Building Project



I was a part of the development team that transformed an old sixth form common room and surrounding classroom spaces into a modern 21st century teaching and learning space. The team was formed from teaching staff who had specific skills, knowledge and experience relevant to the project and consulted widely with students, parents and the wider community to create a design uniquely suited to the style of teaching that The Alice Smith School wanted to promote in its student body i.e. self motivated independent learners who would be able to use a flexible learning environment to maximise their potential. The team then worked with architects, interior designers and contractors to realise its joint vision.

The space created has several specific learning spaces each uniquely designed to provide a variety of learning environments to suit different approaches to teaching that promote a broad range of learning opportunities for students.

Learning Marketplace: This open plan space can be used to deliver talks to the whole sixth form or to enable students to work in small groups within learning pods. The separate learning pods are divided by a snaking low divider that is strong enough to act as additional seating and that allows students to connect their own laptops to a power source built into the divider. In one corner there is an open plan small lecture space and leading from the space are a planning and careers room, a monastic ICT study room, collaborative project ICT room and a conference meeting room.

Learning Cafe and Lounge: The cafe space is designed to be more relaxed with high level bar tables and high stools and some low level leather chairs. Students use the space to collaborate and work in more social groupings and are often found here working on joint projects or discussing issues that have been presented in class. There is a second open plan lecture space in this area.

Garden Terrace: connected to the learning lounge is a garden terrace with wooden garden furniture, cooling fans and vending machines. Students use this area as an eating, drinking and open air working environment.

Learning Spaces: The remaining space is divided into several teaching classrooms, offices, small meeting rooms, student pigeon holes and toilet facilities

All the spaces are bookable via the school’s learning platform and are serviced by a wireless system that enables students to access the school network and the world wide web. PC and Mac platforms are represented to allow students to choose the platform that suits their subjects’ requirements, individual learning style and personal choice. The colour scheme uses current colour theory aimed at promoting a positive learning environment with vibrant and stimulating colours. The spaces are further enhanced by student created art work and coordinated displays.