The ‘co-construction and co-design’ approach to planning and managing residentials has enormous and lasting benefits for young people. Working alongside staff, they work as a learning community to plan and make decisions about their residential. The ability to take a real and purposeful responsibility for themselves and others provides young people with a sense of ownership. Co-design and co-construction techniques empower young people and allow them to take collective control of their learning – reflecting on their experiences and understanding how they might do things differently next time.
The role of school and residential centre staff in co-construction and co-design approaches is to facilitate (not dictate), ensure safety and plan the time needed for discussion, evaluation and decision-making.
The key benefits of a co-construction and co-design approach are that they:
- enrich the residential experience through student ownership of the whole process
- enable student voice to be heard and acted upon
- maximise inclusion
- develop team work skills
- develop facilitation skills of both students and staff
- promote a democratic approach to decision making
- enhance safety as H&S issues are explored and agreed collectiviely
- deepen relationships between students and staff.