Learning Escape Blog
To learn and experience the outdoor environment you have to be out in it. Our climate dictates that we can’t sit outside under a fig tree in the shade all year, so where possible, ensure all the elements of the design is based around the philosophy of minimising the barriers between inside and out to maximise the feeling of being part of nature and the good environmental citizenship that this will develop. We’ve compiled some top tips to help you get the most from the design of your eco-classroom:
We were thrilled to be appointed by the Academy at Shotton Hall last year, to create a learning centre that incorporates additional classroom space; a dedicated teacher training facility to support the school’s role as a National Teaching School and a new administration centre. The school wanted a sustainable, energy efficient building that would sit lightly upon the land, with minimal ground interference, and blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings of the school’s grounds.
The term eco-classroom is an abridgement of the more accurate, but unwieldy, title ecologically friendly classroom. The commonly used phrase eco-friendly can be applied to products (from food and clothing to cars and washing machines), practices and buildings. The most common dictionary definition is “not harmful to the environment”. There is, however, an array of attributes to which a building (product or practice) needs to adhere in order for it to be categorised as authentically eco-friendly.
Pupil numbers are rising and expected to continue to do so (at least until the 2020s) and school budgets under pressure (for the foreseeable future). In these times of limited resources and an uncertain future, many schools are looking for a time and cost efficient solution to their immediate need for additional teaching space: modular classrooms. For many, this conjures up an image of an unsightly pre-fab, mobile structure craned into the most accessible, though not necessarily the most desirable, spot.
As many schools are experiencing growth in the number of pupils, they are increasingly finding that every available space within the main school building has been used for additional classroom capacity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that there is adequate space for teaching the main curriculum to a larger number of children, other aspects of space essential to the efficient operation of a busy school have needed to be sacrificed. Increasingly, we are undertaking a number of projects for schools that need extra space, but not necessarily teaching space.