The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched the 'National Schools Programme,' the UK's first nationwide architectural learning program for schoolchildren. The program partners schools with expertly-trained architects, who volunteer their time to deliver bespoke and creative, curriculum-linked workshops for children aged 4-18. The program is free of charge to schools.
The program 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 program 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 RIBA believes that everyone has a part to play in shaping their built environment, and we are committed to empowering young people through this nationwide programme," commented RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. "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 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.
The launch of a comprehensive nationwide programme follows a successful pilot phase that engaged a diverse range of 18,000 young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, in over 200 schools across England. The pilot was delivered by 349 Architecture Ambassadors from 170 architecture practices. Projects in the pilot phase have included huge large-scale models made of bamboo and proposals for creating 'a city of the future.'
Photography: Lucie Goodayle