Classroom design really does matter

Inspired students in their eco classroom

We’ve always believed that the classroom is the place where young minds are moulded and according to new research carried out by the University of Salford and Nightingale Associates architects, classroom design really does matter.

The results suggest that a classroom environment can affect a child’s academic progress over a year as much as 25%, showcasing how much an effective learning environment can benefit pupils. Findings within the study have shown that design parameters such as classroom orientation, temperature, air quality and natural light and noise all contribute towards a successful, or not, learning environment. The researchers also took into consideration the flexibility of space, use of colour and storage facilities and organisation.

Using this information schools can now begin to consider their classroom design and think about how it is affecting their pupils. Many opt to use their school grounds as inspiration for a new building, bridging the gap between the classroom and the playground with an outdoor space. Outdoor classrooms and outdoor learning have been proven to benefit pupils through effective design and natural inspiration. Our own report, The Outdoor Environment, discovered that giving children the opportunity to learn in an inspiring space not only has a positive impact on them, but on the environment too.

Thinking about classroom design is important and to ensure that schools are making the most from their available space, we’ve compiled some top tips. You can read the full list here

  • Natural light and sunshine is essential to how we all feel. Using sunpipes in the classroom brings controlled bright light inside, to replicate daylight, and lessens the requirement to use artificial bulbs.
     
  • Full height screens and doors allow children to flow from the classroom to the outdoors naturally. The natural world can be viewed easily, a much nicer distraction than strip lights and concrete walls.
     
  • Making the classroom more interactive is a great way to improve productivity and coordination. Every element of a building can be part of the educational experience, teaching children about the environment around them.

The study carried out by University of Salford and Nightingale Associates is one that the pairing aim to continue further, with the continued hope of finding what constitutes an effective learning environment. Within the current findings, 73% of the variation in pupil performance driven at the class level can be explained by the building environment factors, highlighting its importance for future research.

You may also be intested in this article with some really great design tips for making the most of your classroom space: http://www.fusionyearbooks.com/blog/classroom-design/