Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

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Facility of the week

Gorton Education Village, Manchester, UK-England

Manchester City Council's brief and vision dictated that a variety of spaces were developed to suit both mainstream and SEN users. Planning, layout, coordination and specification of structure and service will facilitate any future reconfigurations resulting from a change in curriculum or user needs. The architects and construction firm for the project proved to be “highly professional and very forward thinking,” Melland head teacher Judith O‟Kane OBE says. “Before pen was put to paper, we talked about educational concepts, inspiration, teaching and learning. So when we started designing the building, we brought in total flexibility.” Designs were regularly challenged in workshops with the Authority, staff and pupils enabling us to gain a perspective on what direction we needed to go in.

As a result a collection of spaces has been developed which provides opportunities for single users to large groups. Also incorporated are areas within circulation areas to promote both group and personalised learning opportunities. The innovative design of the flexible learning areas mean that the educational spaces are able to accommodate groups of varying sizes and have been designed to be easily split into smaller teaching spaces each with required technology should the need for these arise in the future. This layout also means that groups of varying levels of ability are able to be taught together with more than one member of staff being able to supervise a group, therefore, further encouraging student cohesion.

Discrete security features and the provision of a comprehensive CCTV system provide a safe and secure environment for users. Bio-metric systems are in place to facilitate registration of attendance, cashless catering and the issue of library material. Additionally, there is a new tele-conferencing capability in the library whilst the extensive wireless facility throughout the school enables ‘teaching without barriers’. The improvement in the establishment’s IT provision has facilitated rapid, consistent development of the curriculum to match the capabilities of the technology in place.

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About this database

The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the “Database of Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investment” on 29 September 2011. It seeks to inform the planning, design, construction, management and evaluation of educational spaces, combining resources for strategic investment in educational infrastructure, with exemplary school and university facilities from all over the world.

Drawing on the output of a joint CELE/European Investment Bank project on “Strategic Investment Planning for Educational Infrastructure” and more than 60 exemplary schools and universities featured in CELE’s flagship publication, “Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”, this database is a unique international resource for educators, designers, policymakers and researchers alike.

Users of the database are encouraged to add their own resource material, or submit new completed university or school projects for publication on the database. OECD and EIB welcome your input to our project!

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The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) presents the top 6 school and university buildings in ”Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”.

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