The role schools and colleges play in the smooth passage of students from sixth form to university is becoming ever more important. Higher education has never been more popular amongst young people. Almost half of them are likely to go to university before they turn 30. While the traditional values of academic excellence and achievement remain central, many schools and sixth form colleges are exploring dynamic modern approaches that encourage and nurture independence and leadership.
Nigel Deacon, Sales Director at Streetspace Urban Structures, comments on how forward-thinking schools and colleges are now focusing on ways to develop these qualities and designing state of the art environments where students can flourish and have a competitive edge.
‘In a recent article , I read the average UK student loan is now over £50,000, and the country’s student debts are the highest in the developed world. And yet student attendance among 17-30 year olds is at an all-time high, no doubt fuelled by an increasing demand from both UK industry and the public sector for graduate skills. Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of Universities UK, observed “our universities are training future teachers, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs that our society and economy needs.” In my opinion, the question is really no longer whether further education students will go to university but will their investment offer value for money and the benefits outweigh the likely financial burden.’
‘Acutely aware of the benefits and challenges university presents, I am seeing more and more schools putting as much emphasis on preparing students for university as getting them there. I am aware from the many exciting projects being undertaken across the UK, that schools are working hard to ensure students can genuinely maximise their university experience. Providing a stimulating environment and a school culture that promotes independence and leadership seems to be a very sensible focus. I have been involved in many school projects where a re-invigorated space instils confidence in pupils and makes the journey to higher education smoother and more assured.’
‘A great example of this approach is Kew House School, a co-educational independent senior school for students aged 11-18 years, who Streetspace Urban Structures are currently collaborating with. Open since September 2013, their recent Ofsted Report recognised that the faculties “ambitious vision and relentless drive have established a school that promotes the highest standards and aims for excellent achievements for its students”. Under the expert leadership of Headmaster, Mark Hudson, I was impressed by his principle objective of empowerment through individuality which stemmed from his experience as Senior Deputy Head at Thomas Telford, an award-winning comprehensive school. Hudson remarks ‘We introduced significant emphasis on the individual and that in itself was a key element to the school’s success. Establishing confidence allowed students to maximise their attainment in every facet of their school life.’’
‘I think the school’s vision of independence and individuality is no more apparent than Kew House School’s Sixth Form Centre, a new build, designed specifically to encourage independent study for students approaching adulthood, which opens this autumn. Spread across 6 floors, the striking building includes a large Independent Learning Area, a Sixth Form Café, library, social break-out spaces and quiet study areas. The building also includes an audio-visual suite, recording studio, classrooms and Sixth Form Seminar rooms. It is evident to me that the attractive environment this project will deliver, brings all the potential of campus life within the protective confines of school. ‘
Streetspace Urban Structures became involved in the project when a single-source canopy solution was sought for the top floor roof deck. The bespoke design Streetspace Urban Structures created, produced and is being installed will be fixed to two existing steel support plates and involve components being craned up to the 6th floor. With its translucency, colour, clearspan and softness of form, the ORION Shield™ Tensile Membrane Canopy, was the perfect solution, with the gentle curve of the shield design providing both an attractive aesthetic and a unique ambience to an outstanding build.
If you would like to know how we can provide the perfect finish to your dream project please get in contact.