Wimbledon High School - Spaceoasis

Wimbledon High School

Building Resilience and Learning To Fail:
The Innovation Room at Wimbledon High School

Easy to say, less easy to do, especially if you are a girl with perfectionist tendencies who is wary of making mistakes.

Girls are often more self-conscious than boys, less willing to try something in case they mess it up. It’s a trait seen in women and girls from all walks of life and it’s holding womankind back.

Wimbledon High School, a beacon Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) school was the first internationally to hold a ‘Failure Week’ back in 2012 when Head, Jane Lunnon, recognised the need to keep countering risk-averse tendencies in her students by tackling failure head-on.

What better way than to introduce stand-up comedy nights for students, to complement the annual Fail Better Weeks which are purposefully designed to encourage the girls to embrace risk, learn from their mistakes and build resilience.

This ethos of encouraging innovation and being unafraid of failure is embraced throughout the school. When it became clear that the fixed ICT suite was surplus to requirements, having been outpaced by more agile technology, an idea was formed. What if they could take this space and create an innovation room? A sandbox space with no specific purpose other than throwing yourself into your learning and discovering new ways of working? And that’s where Spaceoasis came in.

"Just give it a go. Dive in!
Take a risk and don’t be afraid to fail because that is how you learn.”

Working with the school, we designed a space that is divided into four zones, each suited to different learning styles.

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On one side of the room, benches and long tables with writable LearningSurface® are located by the wall-mounted screen where larger groups can congregate and collaborate.

A LearningSurface® dry-wipe wall provides a large-scale canvas for ideas, brainstorming and working things out with enough space for everyone to participate.

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Tall fixed benches with suitably high chairs set by the window provide a comfortable perch for individuals to work independently or in twos, or to simply sit and think.

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The centre of the room is an agile space with mobile Bite tables with writable LearningSurface® that can be arranged in large or small groups, and reverse cantilever chairs.

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A mobile teacher console replaces the traditional desk, introducing the idea that fixed ‘teacher territory’ isn’t necessarily a vital element of a learning space, while still providing somewhere to sit.

"Because it’s so different from a traditional classroom it frees students up to think and behave differently. It has been a great success. We’ve enjoyed having our SMT meetings there too!”

STELLA LAWTON
WIMBLEDON HIGH SCHOOL’S DIRECTOR OF FINANCE & OPERATIONS