Birmingham, West Midlands
Ground-breaking student-designed lab at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls
While staff were in talks about how to unlock funds and upgrade existing science facilities, four former year 11 students at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls in Birmingham entered Innova’s national ‘Lab of the Future’ competition urging pupils to design their ideal science lab. After submitting a very detailed 52-page document, the most detailed proposals the judging panel had ever seen, they were announced the winners!
‘‘I had a couple of lessons in here last year and the overwhelming colour was brown, and so it’s really strange to walk into a place that you have helped change into something so bright and modern.’’
Having been awarded £20,000 towards lab furniture as a prize, King Edward School set itself on a mission to turn the dream lab into a reality. Staff did everything possible to fund the full turnkey conversion, which included ceiling, lighting, M&E works and flooring, to bring to life the ‘Lab of the Future’ design from Simi Bhamra, Phoebe Thomas, Kate Pham and Chloé Taylor.
In the initial planning stages, the girls surveyed teachers and students to find out what they wanted from the lab which helped to shape the final design. With this in mind, the school was keen to incorporate as many of their design elements as possible and selected our proposed design which was inspired by the students’ original ideas.
Innova was tasked with manufacturing the furniture and installing the lab in just three weeks, repurposing what was a former physics classroom and transforming it into a fully-functional, modern mixed sciences lab to be used primarily for chemistry.
“As a school we were very impressed by the girls’ designs so we just had to make the lab a reality. By doing this we are getting a classroom that will work for everybody that uses it – teachers and pupils – like nothing before it. From my point of view I can’t wait to get in there and teach some classes.”
Teacher accessibility was a huge priority to the girls.
To meet this need, the teacher wall was positioned on the long wall of the science lab which not only shortens the lines of communication but also increases space to install the unique horseshoe desk layout invented by the girls – designed so that every pupil faces the front of the room and allows the teacher to circulate freely, providing a more collaborative approach to learning.
Sinks were located at the perimeter with deep work benches with the ability to run track experiments. Ample storage options around the perimeter, enables practical lessons to be set up quicker with minimal clutter.
Services such as gas taps and electric outlets, in the form of pluto power modules, were located towards the edge of each bench, away from theory space yet facilitating easy access.
In full visibility of all students, the central teacher demo area presents the perfect platform for demonstrations to take place.
This unique manufacture and installation project inspired by four pupils demonstrates the merits of involving students in classroom design. The new classroom now provides a flexible learning environment that addresses the need for a working classroom and practical laboratory within the same space.
VIDEO: King Edward VI Camp Hill School New Science LabView on youtube
Science lessons have never been so exciting for the students at one school in Birmingham and it's down to its latest addition of a state of the art science lab.
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