Primary school pupils ‘futuristic ideas’ impress Oxford students and lecturers

Students at St Patrick’s join in with science lessons at the University of Oxford.
Students at St Patrick’s join in with science lessons at the University of Oxford.

Lecturers and engineering students from Oxford university have praised the ‘futuristic ideas’ produced by primary school students when engaging in an exercise to envision school buildings 50 years in the future

Students and lectures from one of the UK’s most prestigious universities were presented with creative designs from primary students as part of The React Foundation’s Schools of the Future programme.

Created out of Cleator Moor-based React Engineering, the React Foundation ran after-school weekly sessions with year 5 and 6 pupils from a number of schools in an effort to engage students with the education system and raise aspirations of all involved.

Futuristic ideas: Asking children about what our world looks like?

The project asked students to design and manufacture a prototype of what they envisage what their school will look like in 50 years’ time.

Following the 12-week programme, the pupils were taken to Jesus and Queen’s College at Oxford University for a two-night stay in their dormitories with the visit finishing with a presentation of their futuristic ideas to engineering students and lecturers.

Dr Matthew Williams, of Jesus College, said: “We were blown away by the questions they came up with, their endless energy and the fantastic ideas they had for the future of education. We look forward to them applying to Oxford University one day soon.”

Programme leader Kyle Hannah commented that “The 12-week programme has provided a great opportunity to have an impact on our local community, raising the aspirations of young people in a meaningful way that can become the platform for shaping their futures. This has once again been a truly rewarding programme, and I’m excited already for next year.”

Boosting presentation skills and confidence when public speaking

The Schools of the Future programme was piloted by The React Foundation last year and has been developed due to its immediate success.

Volunteers from the foundation introduced a workshop before the student’s final presentation in an effort to boost their presentation skills and confidence in public speaking.

One pupil from St Patrick’s, said: “I learned about how amazing we all are – we had a lecture about humans and our brains, and how powerful they are. My favourite part of the trip was the chemistry activity because I love science, and it was really interesting.”

I learned about how amazing we all are – we had a lecture about humans and our brains, and how powerful they are

A pupil from St Joseph’s added: “I was very proud as the graduates were really interested in our project and impressed with our ideas.”

React Foundation: Setting primary pupils’ aspirations high through futuristic ideas and projects

Annette Savage, the headteacher at St Joseph’s, said: “This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity which has raised aspirations for all involved, and the children thoroughly enjoyed the whole project from brainstorming their ideas of their futuristic schools to making their models and then developing their speaking and listening skills to a standard where they confidently presented at the prestigious Oxford University.

“I cannot thank The React Foundation enough for giving our children such a brilliant opportunity to see a beautiful city they had never visited before and allowing them to be submerged in university life and inspiring them to set high goals for their own future.”

Extra information on the React Foundation

Founded in 2004, the React Foundation was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent to an MBE for UK volunteer groups, in 2021 and it has inspired more than 75,000 young people since its formation.


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