JBH Refurbishments launched its Design the Best Classroom Ever Competition in February. It was initiated as an early introduction to design and construction and was run in primary schools throughout the South East.
While the competition offered a cash prize of £250 to spend on classroom supplies for the winning pupil’s class, the concept also provided an educational opportunity for children to put their creative and methodical skills to the test. As a result, teachers across the South East got involved, using the competition as an art lesson, a computer lesson and even setting it as homework.
“We received over 200 entries, far more than expected and we were blown away by the originality and thought process of many of the designs,” explains Babs Hubbard Director of JBH Refurbishments.
The judges from JBH Refurbishments and honouree judge, Iain Mcilwee from FIS (Finishes Interior Sector) had the difficult decision of choosing just two winners – one from key stage one and one from key stage two.
They weren’t just looking for good colouring or a neat drawing, the concept had to be unique and winning designs certainly were.
The two winners of the Design the Best Classroom Ever Competition were Penny Bates, age 7 of Fortune Class at Thames View Primary and Florence Mannell, age 11 of 6C Staplehurst Primary School. The two have received £250 each for their class to spend on classroom supplies of their choice. Their teachers helped the winners with their final decision.
“The level of entries to the competition has been exceptional and selecting two winners was extremely difficult. However, the two finalists stood out for their creative and imaginative approach to designing the ideal learning environment,” explains Hubbard
About the Winning Designs
Key Stage Two Winner
Florence Mannell, age 11 from Staplehurst Primary School created a classroom with a secret library, hidden behind a wall that opened to reveal a magnificent selection of books that come to life when you read them. Featured in the main classroom design is a giant calculator, a touch board for discovering chemical reactions, a unicorn that provides equations, a writing machine to help with ideas and structure, and an outdoor football pitch for playtime. The attention to detail was impressive to say the least. Florence even provided information on the back of her entry about each item within her design.
“Florence’s design demonstrated her passion for reading and her design was exceptional. It demonstrated her ability to think outside the box to develop an entirely new and contemporary classroom concept,” explains Babs.
When asked how she came up with the design, Florence said, “I was watching a programme that had a small door in a tree and when you went through it, you entered a large library with books that came to life. I love reading and this magical library gave me the inspiration for my classroom design.
“My sister, Matilda who is 7 came up with the idea for the giant calculator. I asked her if I could use it and she said, “yeah sure”. I really enjoyed thinking about how I would want my classroom to look and it took me two days to plan and draw it.”
While Florence leaves Staplehurst this term to join High Weald Academy in Cranbrook, she has used the prize money to leave a legacy at her school. Because of her love of reading, she plans to spend the money on her favourite books, which will feature a ‘Florence Mannell Recommends’ stamp inside and will sit on a special shelf within the school library. For years to come Florence hopes these books will inspire her peers to read more and delve into a magical world.
Florence’s teacher Mrs Fairley said, “As a class we were really excited to hear Florence had won. It just goes to show that putting in that extra bit of effort does go a long way. We’re very proud of her and delighted that she has won this amazing prize for the class. Florence’s decision to spend the money on books is very thoughtful and I’m certain her little sister will get the chance to enjoy them too.”
Key Stage One Winner
Penny Bates, age 7 from Thames View Primary, developed her design around a Monopoly Board. The square desks were arranged to create the shape of the iconic board game. Students of this classroom design begin the day at the ‘Start’ table and roll the oversized die in the middle of the classroom to decide which table they should go to next. Each table provides a task, such as reading, baking, art and fun maths. We commend Penny for her creative concept, and for coming up with an alternative approach to the school day structure.
“We commend Penny for her creative concept and for challenging the traditional take on the classroom design and layout,” explains Babs.
“As judges, we weren’t simply looking for neat drawings and good colour, we wanted to see originality and Penny’s Monopoly design exceeded our expectations.”
When asked about her design, Penny said, “I love playing Monopoly, it is one of my favourite board games and I really liked the idea of bringing the game to life in a classroom.”
Penny’s teacher, Mrs Bradshaw said, “It was fantastic surprise to hear that Penny had won the competition. Since receiving her prize, she has beamed with pride and her classmates are equally thrilled for her. It is a lovely ending to the year, and I think that to spend the money on board games and dressing up is a brilliant idea that the whole class can enjoy as they enter year 3.”
Due to the high level of entries, JBH’s judges decided to award a runner up prize of £150 to Felicity Bemand-Qureshi of class Prep 3 at St Joseph’s Convent School. Felicity, age 10 impressed the judges with her consideration for space planning by adding a mezzanine floor where students could read and relax with noise of a water feature. Felicity used bright colours throughout and designed story book shaped light features.
A Few Words From The Judges
Babs Hubbard concludes, “We have thoroughly enjoyed receiving the designs and seeing what is important to children when it comes to their classroom environment. We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who got involved in the first JBH competition of this kind. We hope that it was fun and has inspired young people to consider construction as a future career.”
Helping the Directors from JBH Refurbishments with the judging process was Iain McIlwee, CEO of FIS (Finishes Interior Sector), who said, “We have been really encouraged by the high-level of entries for both categories and hope that the competition has sparked a passion in these young people for building and creating. It was extremely hard to narrow down two winners. However, Penny and Florence are very deserving winners.
We hope that all the entrants will now be inspired to enjoy building and possibly enter the #iBuiltThis2019 competition run by FIS, which is open to all ages and there are some amazing prizes to be won. The winners will be invited to the #iBuiltThis Awards ceremony taking place on the 8 October at UK Construction Week Expo at the NEC in Birmingham, where they will be awarded their prizes by TV personality and renowned architect, George Clarke. We’re delighted that JBH will be an #iBuiltThis Ambassador to the competition.”
Find out more about the iBuiltThis Competition HERE