Co-Creative Adventures in School Design

Rosie Parnell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


April 2011, London, England: The ‘James Review’ of schools capital spending is delivered to the British government, criticising designs resulting from the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme as ‘far too bespoke’ (James 2011: 6). Instead: ‘New buildings should be based on a clear set of standardized drawings and specifications that will incorporate the latest thinking on educational requirements and the bulk of regulatory needs’ (ibid.). The report effectively condemns attempts to involve in the design process those people who will use the new schools. In summary this is time-wasting, expensive and ineffective, and it is even blamed for reduced attainment. To quote one extract from the report:

Staff and pupils in BSF schools had an unusually high level of input in the design process. The Review team were troubled by elements of this involvement. While it is clearly right to work hard to get excitement and buy-in from all stakeholders including students [for this do we read coercion and placation?], we were not convinced that there should be significant input by pupils into the design for each school. The timeframes involved meant that, in virtually every case, the majority of those children that had actually been involved had left school by the time the school was built.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSchool Design Together
EditorsPamela Woolner
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315774107
ISBN (Print)9780415840767
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2014


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