Room for all at St John Vianney Primary School

A vision by primary pupils for creating an inspiring school space to learn in will become reality after winning an innovative new competition run by the City of Edinburgh Council.

St John Vianney
Delighted winning pupils from St John Vianney Primary School

St John Vianney Primary School pupils came up with the idea of transforming their outdated Audio Visual room into a flexible learning area for the whole school to use for different activities as part of the Future Schools Edinburgh project.

The collaborative project involves pupils and staff from across the city coming up with innovative ideas to create new classroom designs and learning environment.

Fourteen schools submitted their entries with five shortlisted entries voted on by a judging panel and delegates at the Education Buildings Scotland conference yesterday (Wednesday 27 November).

The four runners-up were Corstorphine Primary School, St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School, Murrayburn Primary School, and Broughton High School.

Excited pupils from St John Vianney were at the conference when John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Education, announced their successful design was going to be created thanks to a partnership between the Council and Hub South East Scotland.

This will see a ‘junior project team’ set up involving pupils to oversee their design through to completion with the room containing new technology, a teaching kitchen, quiet space and different storage areas.

P5 Pupils Emre Ocak, Krystian Szczesny, Zofia Dolata-Kowalczyk, Addison Young and Keeva Healy said: “The slogan for our project was ‘One room for all and all for one room’. The room is used by everyone but is old, dull and empty. The new room will have more colour and be fun. We want people to say ‘Wow’ when they come in and start learning.”

Pauline Reid, St John Vianney teacher who supported the pupils in their project, said: “Getting the award means everything not just to the pupils and staff but the whole school community. The learning journey the pupils have been on, along with their enthusiasm and commitment, has been incredible.  We’re all so proud of them and how they have engaged with the project. This will have long-lasting benefits for the school.”

Cllr Ian Perry, Education Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Future Schools Edinburgh is a unique project as it challenged pupils to tell us how they would change an area in their school to improve teaching and learning. The calibre of entries was outstanding so congratulations to everyone who took part for coming up with some really inspirational ideas.”

Cllr Alison Dickie, Education Vice Convener, said: “It’s great that pupil voices are at the very heart of this project. Their involvement in coming up these ideas to create amazing new learning environments was central to everything that took place. I’m delighted for St John Vianney and I’m sure it will be a fantastic journey for these pupils to see their dreams become reality!”

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “High-quality, fit-for-purpose learning environments can make a real difference to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents, and to the communities they serve. The passion and enthusiasm displayed by the pupils whose own vision for a school for the future I have seen today is wonderful. My congratulations go to the winners and all those who presented their ideas. Pupils’ needs and wishes are at the centre of our approach as we take forward our £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme, the next phase of investment in schools and campuses.”

Richard Park, Operations Director for Hub South East, said: “I’ve been incredibly impressed by the quality of submissions. The ideas were well researched, thought out and presented, demonstrating the wealth of talent we have amongst Edinburgh’s young people. We’re looking forward to working with the winning team at St. John Vianney to make their vision a reality.”

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