Joinedupdesign for Academies

An architect helps pupils read structural plans

In 2006, the Sorrell Foundation began working on a prototype to enable pupils to have a say in what academies could be like. The Foundation worked with pupils from five new academies on an extended programme of engagement, beginning with the creation of a brief for their architects. The Bulwell Academy in Nottingham, Milton Keynes Academy, the RSA Academy at Tipton, the City Academy, Hackney, and The Isle of Sheppey Academy are at varying stages of development and completion, and a pupil client team has played a vital role in the vision for each new school.

The Joinedupdesign for Academies 2008–2009 programme was set up with support from Partnerships for Schools and in collaboration with the University of the Arts London. The programme followed the joinedupdesignforschools model, but the pupil clients worked with student designers from universities, who were mentored by professional designers. A total of 100 pupils and 30 design students took part in the programme, creating a Pupils’ Brief for each of the 5 new Academies.

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The pupil client team for All Saints Academy in Dunstable and Bedford Academy in Bedford worked with student designers from the University of Northampton. Pupils for Bushey Academy near Watford worked with students from the University of the Arts London, and pupils for Strood Academy worked with students from the University for the Creative Arts, Kent. Pupils from Shelfield Community Academy in Walsall worked with students from the University of Derby, and had the opportunity to present to six consortia at the Walsall Academy Bidders’ Day in April 2009.

The Pupils’ Brief for each academy summarised what the clients had asked for, and included design concepts from the university students. The programme was run parallel to the Young Design Programme 2008–2009, and the design outcomes can be viewed on the Young Design Programme page. The publication of each brief marks the beginning of the next stage of the process in which, through continued engagement with the project, each client team can contribute to pragmatic decisions and the overall vision for their academy.

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