|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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Their website www.nif.co.uk
explains more about Planning for Real and how you can get
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
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.
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.
Throughout the day we received a steady flow of visitors who added their suggestions to
Charlotte Howard, one of Silkmore's pupils was interviewed by Radio Stoke and she spoke
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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This page last updated
05 April 2006