Back to school – designing post-pandemic spaces in school grounds

The Back to School project was a yearlong project funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery. LtL worked with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Leeds to create a relaxing area at Shakespeare Primary School to help children recover from the pandemic.

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Using Landscape Architects
in school grounds design

The project team worked with children, staff and landscape architect, Emily Jones, to:

  • Look at where they want to be – to inspire the possibilities of the space the children and staff visited a local TCV centre to explore different natural species and environments;
  • Think about how they could get there – exploring what options they had and co-designing the space using Emily’s expertise in landscape architecture; and
  • Make the changes – the pupils and staff then built the design in school, alongside TCV staff.

The project enabled the whole school to be part of developing a calming, natural space. This offers ongoing benefits for children when they use the space, but the process itself also engaged pupils in hands-on, practical, and collaborative work.

The Back to School project proved that the involvement of a landscape architect has many benefits for developing spaces in school grounds, including:

  • Having creative design skills which help make each project unique;
  • Being used to consulting, responding and interpreting the needs and wants of the client – in this case pupils and the school;
  • Knowledge of both native and exotic plants, and an understanding of ecological principles and practices;
  • Seeing things on a landscape scale, or down to the fine detail – from an overall vision for a space, to the fine construction details;
  • Having knowledge and understanding of underground services, planning law, health and safety legislation, contract management and supervision of construction works; and
  • Understanding how any changes will need to be managed means they can ensure that the management and maintenance requirements of any design are not too large for the school to cope with.

Download the summary case study here or view Emily’s design work.

LtL Accreditation in Transforming Spaces

Since our inception over 30 years ago, LtL has worked closely with landscape architects to deliver many of our projects. As part of that practice, we operate our ‘LtL Accreditation in Transforming Spaces’. This scheme ensures that LtL Accredited Landscape Architects can:

  • Bring a wide range of consultation techniques for use with pupils, staff and the wider community;
  • Have significant experience of working in and with schools or early years settings, and understand their needs; and
  • Understand the way LtL encourages schools and designer to work, using a simple process of change.

Learn more about LtL Professional Accreditation.

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