Silkmore Primary
Action Week 2002
Flat Stanley
Nova Scotia


Planning for Real at Silkmore Primary

Planning for Real is about planning improvements in a particular area and fully involving everyone who is affected. It is a 'bottom up' process which is committed to listening to the views of those who live and work in an area because they are most affected by changes and know best what needs to be changed. Planning for Real facilitates and enables but it does not impose change and improvement. It is a powerful way of encouraging hill community involvement in local improvements to the area.

Planning for Real is part of The Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation and can be contacted at
The Poplars, Lightmoor, Telford, Shropshire, TF4 3QN
Tel: 01952 590777 e-mail nif@cableinet.co.uk
Their website www.nif.co.uk explains more about Planning for Real and how you can get involved,.

Stafford Borough Council initiated the project and launched it in the Silkmore area through the Silkmore Partnership, a community organisation which works closely to support a range of needs for residents, and, Silkmore Primary School, which is in the heart of the community with pupils who are tomorrow's citizens who spend majority of their lives on the estate.

Officers from the borough council arranged with Silkmore Primary to make a plan of the estate. This was done as an after school activity and parents were invited to help. It was made clear to local residents, Pupils and parents that the school would only be a venue and would not try to
influence the sort of decisions that could be suggested. The staff did not live on the estate and therefore did not have a right to influence decisions. The response was extremely good. Parents and pupils turned out to paint the ground plan and make the models of the houses. They were pleased to be able to identify their homes and key buildings etc. Some parents even turned up when their children were on a residential course at Shugborough. Such was their commitment. The children enjoyed locating their homes and they developed map reading skills in a practical and natural way.

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The youth club, which uses Silkmore's buildings, was also involved and young people made posters to advertise 'Planning for Real'.

Over the weeks the model was completed and it travelled to a number of venues to allow local residents to place their flags on the model to indicate the improvements they wanted. This proved to be an enormous
success and more effective than a normal survey. People could look at the model, find their houses and identify the need for improvement so much better than any response to a usual survey or questionnaire.

After touring the estate, the model returned to Silkmore primary on 6th November. It was already laden with suggestion flags, completed by residents who had called to view the model. Every pupil at the school, from
4+ to 11, examined the model and made their suggestions for improvement. It was wonderful to observe even the youngest pupils trying to orientate themselves, the model and their houses. Staff were overwhelmed and touched
by the sensitivity of pupils and their care for the environment;

  • pupils did not like the graffiti on road signs and buildings.
  • they called for the relocation of parks so that older youngsters would not monopolise and spoil them.
  • they asked for similar improvements on their own estate that they had helped to create on their own school grounds - gardens, trellises, pleasant
    areas to sit and talk.
  • they were aware of the need to balance their needs with those of older residents. One class suggested that play areas are not by the senior citizens but by their own houses so that mums and dads could watch them play safely.

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Throughout the day we received a steady flow of visitors who added their suggestions to the model.
Charlotte Howard, one of Silkmore's pupils was interviewed by Radio Stoke and she spoke out clearly
for the Planning for Real principals. David Kidney MP visited and talked to the pupils about the model.
Local Councillors Bruce and Cooke also visited.

The Planning for Real project coincided with the Local Authority's 'Geography through the Window' initiative. Silkmore pupils have been studying the local geography of the area during the autumn term, relating the origins of the estate to the impact of the new building about to take place on the former BRC site. Both Planning for Real and Geography through the window link with a national initiative International Children's Rights Day. David Kidney MP has written to all local schools inviting pupils to submit their questions relating to local, national and global issues. This invitation gave Silkmore's pupils the opportunity to take one step further the issues which the model and Their geography studies had encouraged them to raise.

The model will not be destroyed after the 'Planning for Real' exercise. Silkmore Primary is delighted to be allowed to give it a home. Pupils will use it as a valuable teaching and visual aid for future geography studies.

Sandra Peck, Headteacher of Silkmore at the time of this project.


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Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to kate.russell@staffordshire.gov.uk
Copyright 2007 [QLS Staffordshire County Council]

This page last updated 05 April 2006


This page was last updated 05/04/06