Schools should feel more like home: an interview with Lina Iordanaki

Lina Iordanaki is from Piraeus in Greece. Her first degree was in Primary Education and her master’s degree in Literature at the University of Athens. She is currently a 3rd-year PhD student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Her research areas include picturebooks, graphic novels, literacy and poetry for children. Her PhD thesis investigates children’s responses to wordless picturebooks.

 

Tell me about your first school.

I remember my primary school vividly. Continue reading “Schools should feel more like home: an interview with Lina Iordanaki”

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Discipline and punish in a Pugin school: an interview with Anne Prendergast

Anne Prendergast has spent 30 years in media and publishing and is currently media director at Strattons: a bespoke advertising and design agency specialising in luxury travel, fashion and interior decorating.  A graduate of Bristol University and the University of London she also is a new business consultant for Webpuzzle an innovative, digital content management system.

 

Tell me about your first school.

It was a local Catholic primary school, St Mary’s Brewood. Continue reading “Discipline and punish in a Pugin school: an interview with Anne Prendergast”

The importance of acoustics in learning: an interview with Shane Cryer, Ecophon

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Shane Cryer manages the education sector in the UK and Ireland for Swedish acoustic experts, Ecophon. After a career in the construction industry, having studied building and property surveying, he now concentrates on building acoustics. Working closely with organisations such as The Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and the RIBA, Shane has been promoting the new BB93: Acoustic Design of Schools standard via CPD seminars, conferences and articles in the trade press. Continue reading “The importance of acoustics in learning: an interview with Shane Cryer, Ecophon”

I started school twice: an interview with Bridget Murray, teacher

Bridget Murray attended primary schools in the late 1970s in Middlesborough, Hertfordshire and Basingstoke, Hampshire (UK) where she also went to secondary school.  After a degree in Computer Science at Warwick University, Bridget took a PGCE at the Institute of Education and taught in primary schools in London and Kent.  In the past five years she has also been a school governor at a primary school in Surrey, where she now lives.  No longer a teacher, she is now an artist and writer.

Tell me about your first experience of school

I actually started school twice Continue reading “I started school twice: an interview with Bridget Murray, teacher”

Allowing for easy interaction: an interview with Hedwig Heinsman, DUS architects, Amsterdam

 

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Hedwig Heinsman is an architect who grew up in the Dutch Flevopolder and now lives and works in Amsterdam. One of the three co-founders of DUS architects, probably best known for their 3D Print Canal House, she is passionate about public and social architecture.  Hedwig is a graduate of Delft Technical University and the Helsinki University of Technology. DUS are about to leave their current Open Co-op building and move to a larger site.

Tell me about your first school.

My parents were teachers Continue reading “Allowing for easy interaction: an interview with Hedwig Heinsman, DUS architects, Amsterdam”

Interview with Sue Steggles, teacher.

Sue Steggles was a pupil at John Scurr primary school, Bethnal Green in the East End of London in the 1960s. After attending grammar school, she trained to be a nursery nurse. Subsequently, she retrained as a primary school teacher and taught at Curwen primary school in Plaistow, Essex, Old Ford Primary in Bow, London and now teaches at Sheringham Primary in the London Borough of Newham.  Sue has moved away from classroom teaching and currently leads an intervention programme for reading and writing (Reading Recovery) in the school as well has having management responsibilities.

Tell me about your first experience of school.

I went to school in the ’60s Continue reading “Interview with Sue Steggles, teacher.”

Interview preview: with special school deputy head Pamela Murphy

Pamela Murphy read Geography at the University of Cambridge before working as a University administrator and then training as a primary teacher. She worked in a mainstream school as a class teacher before working in two special schools and she is currently the assistant head teacher of Queen Elizabeth II special school in London. Pupils at the school are aged between 4  19 years and have severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties as well as complex physical and medical needs. This is an extract from an interview with Pamela for A&E. 

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In my third and final year at the first special school where I worked, I had a class of children who were severely autistic with huge sensory needs. We were on the middle corridor and across from us was a big hall and doors that opened out onto it.  So in that middle corridor I had a group of children, all non-verbal, huge sensory issues, all with issues about transition from Year 6 and a classroom that was in no way suitable for these kids that opened directly onto a hall where anyone could be having a PE lesson.   Continue reading “Interview preview: with special school deputy head Pamela Murphy”

Interview with Suvani Dave

Suvani Dave has attended independent primary and secondary schools in Ashford, Windsor and Hounslow.  She is currently a student in the sixth form at Orleans Park secondary school in Twickenham, where she is taking ‘A’ levels in art, maths and psychology.  She is considering studying architecture at university in the USA or the UK.  Suvani is a talented artist, whose work has already attracted attention from private collectors.

A journey into maps by Suvani Dave
A journey through maps by Suvani Dave

What do you remember about your first school?

Despite the fact that I was only five when I first saw my old school, Continue reading “Interview with Suvani Dave”

Wiping the slate clean: one way to declutter a primary school

When I asked Catherine Burke what she would wish for if she could change just one thing in all schools, this is how she replied:

(T)o remove everything from schools including all the clutter and all the paraphernalia and all the technology and all the stuff and then have a really good think about what was necessary to bring back.

And to try and justify bringing everything back. Continue reading “Wiping the slate clean: one way to declutter a primary school”

The phantom cloakroom

When I was considering whether to include my own childhood school as one of a series of research visits to primary schools, I wondered how that might affect the research.  It wasn’t until after I’d made the visit that I remembered Katie Jones & Jon Anderson’s excellent (2009) paper about the methodologies of different research spaces in schools and the fact that Jones was visiting her own (secondary) school for her research project.  However, unlike Jones, a young researcher, Continue reading “The phantom cloakroom”

Interview with Judith Baines

Judith Baines was born in 1933 and is a former primary school teacher and Deputy Head.  She pioneered progressive teaching methods at Eynsham Primary in Oxfordshire with her husband George Baines from the late 1960s until the 1980s.  Judith and George then worked at Bishop Grossteste College, Lincoln, a teacher training college, before their retirement to the Isle of Arran, Scotland, where Judith has continued to live since George’s death in 2009.

Tell me about your first experience of school.

We lived in Hornchurch and at four years old I went to a little private school in Upminster called Hill House Continue reading “Interview with Judith Baines”

Interview with Ruth Benn and Rebecca Skelton, teachers at Sparrow Farm Infants & Nursery school, Feltham.

Ruth Benn and Rebecca Skelton teach at Sparrow Farm Infants & Nursery school in Feltham, close to Heathrow Airport. Rebecca began working at the school in September 2013, after completing a PGCE in Primary Education while Ruth joined the school a year later after finishing her BA in Education. They both work in the Year One classrooms in the main building of the school, which dates back to the late 1950s.  In the past year, two building projects have been completed: a new nursery building, detached from the original site; and a small self-contained building known as the ‘eco-hut’ or ‘the nest’, designed for small group or one to one interventions, teaching and assessment.   We talked in Rebecca’s classroom after the pupils had gone home for the day on June 8th 2015.

 

Emma: Can I ask you both about your own early experiences of school buildings?  What was your school like?

 

Rebecca:  I went to two primary schools that were very different. Continue reading “Interview with Ruth Benn and Rebecca Skelton, teachers at Sparrow Farm Infants & Nursery school, Feltham.”

Interview with Georgie Hughes, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Tower Hamlets

Georgina (Georgie) Hughes is the Reading Recovery teacher leader for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and also trains teachers in Reading Recovery for other London boroughs.  Georgie is based at the two-form entry Osmani Primary School in Whitechapel, East London, where she is the Inclusion Manager.  Osmani’s intake of children is primarily of Bangladeshi heritage, with seventy per cent eligible for free school meals and where the majority of pupils begin school with limited knowledge of English.  The school is housed in an Edwardian former secondary school building and has a spacious feel, with generous sized classrooms and a large number of support rooms available for one to one and small group tuition.  Georgie graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in European studies before moving to London for her Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and a Masters in Reading Recovery and Literary Leadership at the Institute of Education. Georgie was my teacher leader when I trained as a Reading Recovery teacher in Tower Hamlets in 2010.

Think back to your first school.  What was it like?

My very first school? Continue reading “Interview with Georgie Hughes, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Tower Hamlets”

Interview with Rima Tarar, architecture student

Rima Tarar was born in Paris in the early 1990s, where she attended nursery and primary school.  One year into her secondary education, with very little English, she moved to London and was enrolled in a state secondary school in Hackney.  Rima is currently studying interior architecture at London Metropolitan University and considering a number of career options, including architecture.

Tell me about your first school.

I really remember my nursery school, actually. Continue reading “Interview with Rima Tarar, architecture student”

Interview with Nicky Manby, Chair of Governors, Pakeman Primary, London

Nicky Manby first became involved with Pakeman Primary, a North London state primary school, as a reading volunteer after a career as a French and German teacher.  The teaching and sharing of reading with children has been a significant part of her life and she believes that without good reading schools, children are held back in everything else they do.  As Chair of Governors at Pakeman Primary, Nicky initiated a project to build a ‘reading lodge’ in the playground.  She describes her ideal building as having  a tree growing up the centre of it, or at least a tree – filled courtyard and says, It’s still a dream of mine – to lie in a tree spitting cheery pits below, while immersed in a book. Here Nicky reflects on her own schooling in the USA, Switzerland and France and its influence on her work at Pakeman Primary.

What do you remember about your first school?

My first school was in Arlington, Virginia Continue reading “Interview with Nicky Manby, Chair of Governors, Pakeman Primary, London”

Interview with Ji Yu (Summer)

Ji Yu, who likes to be known as Summer at the University of Cambridge where she is a doctoral student in Education, is investigating the impact of learning spaces upon student learning in higher education.  She is exploring this topic with a comparative (mixed methods) case study in China.   Summer grew up in Zixi, a town in Jiangxi Province, China.  Her undergraduate degree in Beijing was in civil engineering in and her Masters studies in Shanghai centred on a comparative study of learning spaces in Chinese primary schools with several Scottish primary schools.  I spoke with Summer on 11th May 2015 in  a central London cafe, just before she flew back to China to continue her research in the field.

Tell me about the first school you went to when you were a child.  What did it look like and feel like to you? 

Well, the first school I attended was the kindergarten but I couldn’t really remember it, so I think …. the one I remember is my primary school and it is very Chinese and a very traditional one. Continue reading “Interview with Ji Yu (Summer)”

Interview with Dr Catherine Burke

Dr Catherine Burke is a well-known historian of childhood, education and school design whose books include School (2008) and The School I’d Like (2003), both co-authored with Ian Grosvenor.  Her latest book, A Life in Education and Architecture, is a study of architect Mary Beaumont Medd (2013).  She reflected on her own experience of the materiality of school as a child growing up in Birmingham in an interview with Emma Dyer on 21st April 2015 in Cambridge, where she is Reader in History of Childhood and Education.

Tell me about your first school.

The first school I attended was Our Lady’s Catholic Primary school in Stechford in Birmingham.  I went there in 1962 when I was five and Continue reading “Interview with Dr Catherine Burke”