Academic Focus on Scientific Research


Last week our Year 5 and Year 6 children were the first children to take part in a serious piece of research being conducted by the University of the West of England. This cross-curricular exercise involved the children in scientific research, physical geography and developed communication skills. We are grateful for the link we have with Dr Margarida Sardo (Enzo’s’s mum)!

So what did they actually do? Dr Margarida Sardo explains,

‘If you were able to design your neighbourhood, town or city, based on feelings, what would it look like? The design of the places we live and work impact on how we feel on a daily basis… and if these feelings persist we can become ill. As children are disproportionately impacted by decision-making it is important they be included in the process. And this is
what our research project set out to do.

In 2018 Shape Our City was launched in Bristol to increase participation in public health decision-making. Despite what the name suggests, rural communities are part of the picture as well as they too are disproportionately impacted by decision making in cities. Springmead were the first school to be consulted on this project – and we were delighted be
given the opportunity to speak with yr5 and yr6 about the things that matter to them. Using a mapping exercise as our guide, we asked the children to identify what was making them feel well, and not so well, around their school. The children valued having lots of access to nature and found country life much better for their overall wellbeing than city living. However, infrequent buses and no cycling infrastructure were seen as barriers to driving less. After some lively discussions, the children cast their vote on what they would most like to improve in the area. In both classes, the majority chose to prioritise access to nature and access to food.

Children are our future leaders, voters and place-makers, and need to be given opportunities to have their say in how our built environment develop. We hope our time at Springmead helped to lay some seeds about how to influence the design of cities. We certainly left feeling inspired!

Thank you for having us! Sophie Laggan, Ruth Larbey and Dr Margarida Sardo
Science Communication Unit’

Well done Year 5 and 6 and a big thank you to the research team!