Secondary School Students' Participation in School Grounds Improvement: Emerging Findings from a Study in England


  • Mark Rickinson Educational Research Consultant
  • Dawn Sanders National Foundation for Educational Research, England


In a recent review of school grounds research, Dyment (2004a) highlights a lack of studies on the process of school grounds improvement, particularly in the secondary school context. This paper seeks to respond to this gap in the literature by reporting emerging findings from a three-year action research study of six English secondary schools involved in improving their grounds. It focuses particularly on the nature and dynamics of student participation in the process of school grounds improvement. Drawing on in-depth case-study research during the first two years of the programme, we discuss how the schools have been approaching the task of improving their grounds, and what the benefits and challenges have been for the participating students. Against a backdrop of longstanding neglect of secondary school grounds, we hope that this paper will lead to further dialogue in this critical and sometimes forgotten area of practice and research.