Work opportunities identified in schools

Major opportunities will exist for landscape architects as the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme gains momentum and early schemes' "very poor" landscapes are dismissed.

The head of the quango set up to deliver BSF has pledged that landscape architects will play a major role in the projects.

Partnerships for Schools chief executive Tim Byles will be speaking at a national conference aimed at exploring the value of outdoor spaces to education.

Organised by the national school grounds charity Learning through Landscapes, the Designs for Learning conference will be a chance for landscape architects to meet members of the bidding consortia for the capital projects as well as representatives from local authorities and schools.

Byles said the event will be useful to ensure "well-designed outdoor spaces in schools". He added: "Landscape design is not an afterthought. The landscape architect is a key member of the design team who will draw on their experience and insight into how the whole site can offer learning opportunities."

Design standards were set last year after a Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) review of the BSF scheme found many projects' landscapes were not good enough.

CABE chief executive Richard Simmons will also share his thoughts on the value of outdoor spaces for education during the conference on 23 March at the American School in London.

Colour Urban Design landscape architect Jon Eachus, who has been involved in BSF projects in Durham and Tameside, will discuss how to engage the whole school community in the design process.

Landscape Naturally landscape architect Felicity Robinson will lead a workshop, as well as Learning through Landscapes development manager Mary Jackson.

Jackson told HW there was still improvement needed in ensuring that schools' landscapes were properly designed.

"In the early BSF projects there were some very poor landscapes being developed," she explained. "The landscape is now getting a higher profile but there is still a long way to go and it is quite frustrating that in the schools that have been produced there is still a lot of improvement that could take place.

"But it should create more work for landscape architects as the scheme rolls out. More practices are realising its potential for work."

For information, visit www.ltl.org.uk or call 01962 846497.


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