#OpenEducation project – tackling the shortage of primary places

We ran the first in a series of #OpenEducation projects – with a kick off event on monday 18 June at our Learning Lab base in Westminster, looking at crowdsourcing solutions to a major policy challenge affecting the education sector. The first looked at ‘Tackling the shortage of primary places’ – described by one academic as the biggest national challenge facing the education system. Here is a short video from the BBC sharing the nature of the problem:

BBC politics video : Tackling the shortage of primary places


Participants gathered from across London and beyond – from council leaders, directors of children’s services, school organisation and capital officers, designers, technologists and policy makers – with a challenge methodology created by the Education Foundation – to start to find innovative solutions to this major problem. We are now looking to work with schools and councils to develop and ‘prototype’ some of the solutions that emerge, and then to share this learning with local authorities and policy makers across the UK.

The list of attendees was as follows – the session was chaired and facilitated by Ty Goddard, Co-founder of the Education Foundation:

  • Cllr Steve Reed, Executive Member for Children and Young People, London Councils
  • Jason Lever, Senior Policy Officer, Greater London Authority
  • Wendy Michael, Head of School Admissions, Triborough Authorities
  • Fiona Dixon, Project Manager (Architectural & Technical), LB Camden
  • Cllr Andrew Harper, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, LB Barnet
  • Linzi Roberts-Egan, Director of Children and Young People Services, LB Newham
  • Alison Cunningham, Adviser for School Organisation, Norfolk County Council
  • Joy Hollister, Director of Community & Children’s Services, City of London
  • Martin Wilcox, Education Planning Officer, LB Southwark
  • Cllr Brian Gate, Portfolio Holder Children, Schools and Colleges, LB Harrow
  • Calvin Coughlan, Capital & Asset Management Manager, LB Tower Hamlets
  • Tom Procter, Service Manager Contacts and School Organisation, LB Merton
  • Manjit Bains, Team Leader, School Place Planning, LB Redbridge
  • John Farry, Commissioner for Capital & School Places, LB Havering
  • Lester Lorzillus, Partner, EWA Architects
  • Jennifer Duxbury, Head of Admissions and School Organisation, LB Haringey
  • Mike Pocock, Divisional Director, Education Estates & Capital Projects, LB Lambeth
  • Nick Mirchandani, Director, Architecture PLB
  • Michal Cohen, Principal, Walters and Cohen
  • Caroline Mayes, Partner, Stride Treglown Architects
  • Angus Kaye and Marc Bird, Directors, Kinnarps UK

The event was kindly supported by Kinnarps UK, who have had experience of tackling the school places issue in the UK and Sweden.

Media coverage

@_AnnaDavis from the Evening Standard posted a preview article today about the event here where @Ty_Goddard says:

The capital’s growing population is an “enormous challenge. It is one of the rare times that education experts, councillors, council officers, designers and others will get together to pool ideas. We have to go beyond putting more temporary buildings in playgrounds

Further media coverage of some of the solutions identified from the event can be found in the media section of our website.