Designing the future with RIBA
RIBA has launched the first nationwide architecture programme for schoolchildren in an aim to inspire the future generation
Posted by Jo Golding | November 28, 2018 | School life
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On 27 November 2018, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) will launch the National Schools Programme – the UK’s first nationwide architectural learning programme for schoolchildren.

The programme partners schools with expertly-trained architects (RIBA Architecture Ambassadors), who volunteer their time to deliver bespoke and creative, curriculum-linked workshops for children aged 4-18. The programme is free of charge to schools, thanks to the generosity of its supporters.

Speaking about the programme, RIBA President Ben Derbyshire says: “The huge enthusiasm and commitment of the individual architects and their practices in giving their time to make this programme possible is impressive. We are proud that our pilot project has already reached 18,000 young people, all over the country, and we look forward to inspiring thousands more.”

The RIBA’s National Schools Programme will help thousands of children to explore and understand the built environment – its impact on people and communities; how it is shaped and developed; and why good design is important. Architecture is not a subject that is taught as part of the school curriculum. The aim of the programme is to foster a generation that understands the impact and importance of excellent architecture and is inspired with the confidence, knowledge and skills to make their voices heard.

The launch of a comprehensive nationwide programme follows a successful pilot phase that engaged a diverse range of young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, in over 200 schools across England. The pilot was delivered by 349 Architecture Ambassadors from 170 architecture practices.

Canan Ahmet, teacher at Rokesly Junior School, comments: “Working with a team of talented architects, as well as RIBA, has ensured that our children are able to develop life skills, such as team work, solving a brief, problem solving and communication. The programme raises aspirations and creates potential careers pathways for some architects of tomorrow.”

The RIBA’s National Schools Programme offers a bespoke variety of workshops, matched to the individual needs, resources and interests of the school. For example, projects can involve exploring the local area and understanding key issues affecting the local community. Projects in the pilot phase have included huge large-scale models made of bamboo and proposals for creating ‘a city of the future’.

Some of their recent projects include architect Jyotsna Sudev re-designing Birmingham’s Ladypool Primary School with the help of 30 of the school’s pupils. Matthew Springett Associates visited the Phoenix School, a special education needs and development setting for students with disabilities and worked over five weeks with the students on an exciting project creating a model of their chosen design.

The RIBA is a charity that relies on funding to run the National Schools Programme.