Weydon is an 11-16 mixed comprehensive school in Farnham Surrey. We acquired specialist Science status in July 2003 and this year 87% of our students achieved 5A*-C at GCSE. The school has a reputation for academic success and we are passionate about providing the highest quality teaching and learning which embraces the latest technology.
The curriculum has been designed to cater for students of all abilities and learning needs this includes AS subjects, GCSE and BTEC courses. Weydon is a school where high quality teaching and learning are a priority and where every child matters in the quest for excellence.
At Weydon we expect the young scientists to leave us with competent practical skills, good problem solving abilities, whilst being able to communicate scientific concepts confidently using good ICT skills. In order to be able to produce this we have to ensure they are inspired & captivated by not only the teaching but the learning environment.
The Science teaching at Weydon embraces the new curriculum changes at KS4. We offer AS Science, triple Science, Additional, Additional Applied and OCR National Science. In order to motivate the students the manner in which the curriculum journey is achieved is as important as the outcome. So these courses need to be vocational, practical, include discussion, debate, drama, role play embracing visual, kinaesthetic and audio learning styles with ICT fully incorporated.
We want the flexibility for our students to be taught as a whole class but also be given opportunities to be taught in small break out groups if required. The problem with our current facilities is we have the personalised curriculum but inadequate accommodation to be able to deliver it.
Our biggest constraint is space and, like all schools, the school site has very little space to build on so the new Science facility will have to be built on the first floor and adjoined to an existing first floor building.
Approach / Design Rationale
The design needed to include a wet laboratory with a flexible space. The idea is to build two semi-circular benches with the flexibility to hold discussions around them and ICT incorporated within them. The idea is to have either a projected keyboard or a laptop incorporated into the desk.
The studio lab is a highly flexible room where the movable furniture can be relocated to enable the delivery of Drama, ICT use by the community and the kitchenette will allow the delivery of small scale food science e.g. making beer, yogurt etc. The studio lab will be lightly serviced with a demonstration space which has a video projector to allow everyone to see the experiment.
The Zen area will have comfortable sofa & chairs and will provide an excellent space for problem solving and small group discussion.
‘Day in the Life’
Our design consists of two laboratories and a Zen zone which is a space that is owned by two teachers. One lab is a wet lab for whole class practical and the dry studio lab has a demonstration facility and a flexible learning space which can be used for the use of multimedia, discussion & debate. The studio space also includes a kitchenette which has a dual purpose for making food products and also it can be used by the community for delivering our wider ICT projects.
The Zen zone is visible to the teachers in the labs because the walls are made of glass. This enables students to break out into small groups to engage in problem-solving and discussion of topical scientific issues. The area will resemble a glass house with a rainforest theme, tropical plants and fabulous views out onto the countryside on one side and out to the scientific plaza in the playground on the other.
The student reception area and guest main entrance of the school are positioned at the entrance to the Science corridor and will reflect the ethos of the Faraday project with the use of sculpture and interactive experiments.
The building is going to be a bespoke Science facility made from unconventional material but with the sole purpose of bringing the teaching of Science into the 21st century.
Our aim is that the building is going to inspire and enthuse all that teach and learn within it. The labs are going to be a showcase for other schools and help to drive ‘Building Schools for the Future’ within the area