This week, 60 students from John Smeaton Academy took part in the ‘Make Your House a Home’ competition, which saw them design and manage their own homebuilding projects.
The initiative is being run by Strata, a local housing developer, in tandem with Ahead Partnership – a social enterprise that seeks to bridge the gap between education and employment by giving young people the chance to explore their future career options.
As part of the architectural competition, students took part in a series of workshops and activities, led by Strata volunteers, designed to explore the different roles and responsibilities that go into homebuilding and the skills needed to manage projects effectively.
Then, using the knowledge they had gained, students were tasked with designing their very own housing development. They were split into teams of 5, with different children taking on specific roles – from architect and interior designer to project and finance managers and community relations officer. This meant that they had to consider everything from the architecture of their house, potential costs and practicalities to the environmental and social impacts of their development upon the local community.
Once the 12 teams had completed their designs, they were judged by the panel of volunteers from Strata. Two teams – ‘BSSSJJ Enterprises’ and ‘Bob the Builders’ was selected as winners because they considered the needs of the client carefully and drew the best scale plans. These two teams will now travel to Strata’s HQ in Doncaster, where they will go head-to-head with another local school, East Leeds Academy, in the ‘Make Your House a Home’ final.
Charlie, a student who took part in the competition, said:
"I had no idea how many jobs there were to do! It's given me loads of ideas to think about."
Claire Bailey, Head of School at John Smeaton Academy, said:
“At John Smeaton, we are dedicated to delivering an Education with Character to our students. As part of this, we encourage our students to try new challenges and seek to instil in them the knowledge and skills that they will need to overcome any obstacles.
“This competition is a perfect example of how our students are given the opportunity to broaden their experiences and see the range of opportunities available to them in the future. I am very proud that all our students thoroughly engaged in the challenge and we are excited to see what our winning teams deliver in the final!”
Alexandra Weatherstone of Ahead Partnership said:
“Ahead Partnership have worked with John Smeaton Academy for a number of years to deliver meaningful employer engagement activities to support their students career development and we are delighted to bring our client, Strata, into the school for the first time for the ‘Make Your House a Home’ competition.
“The students took to the challenge with ease and all presented with confidence, but it is a competition and only 2 teams were chosen to go through to the Grand Finale in January. Congratulations John Smeaton Academy on an excellent start to the competition and best of luck in the finale.”