Young Designers Sow Seed for Brighter Learning Environment
Dulux Smarter Spaces is a colour, design, planning and project management service developed to help empower schools to improve their learning environment. We're working with councils and schools across the country to design learning spaces that are not only inspiring and stimulating but meet the needs of the busy learning environment. Our mission is simple: to help teachers and children thrive through the power of their school surroundings.
The aim of our Young Designers competition was to encourage students to get involved with the design of their learning environments. We believe letting children have a say in their surroundings is the key to engaging them at school. As part of the competition, pupils across the UK were encouraged to choose an area in their school that would benefit from a makeover, how they would like it to look and why. The winning schools saw their designs brought to life by Dulux Smarter Spaces.
In 2015, the Young Designers Primary School winner was Springfield School. Over the previous two years, Springfield had grown by 90 pupils, taking it up to almost 400. However, while the school welcomed the addition, the school's 'pupil parliament' felt that the learning environment could perhaps do more to reflect this inclusive ethos around the school, starting with the school hall.
Students in the school's pupil parliament, who represent their peers said; 'Currently, we all have assembly in the same hall. It's tired and in need of some colour and life.'
Described by students as 'dull' and 'boring', the main hall is where assemblies, governors meetings, parent presentations and performances are held, and where the school celebrates its growing achievements.
'It's the one place in our school that everybody uses and is the most neglected. We want children and adults to be excited to go into the hall. We want a place fit to celebrate our achievements in. The space needs more than just a few display boards to really bring it to life. We want to show what life at Springfield is like when new children and parents arrive.'
To reflect the school house system, based on the four Patron Saints, they wanted to use the colours of the four houses in the hall, providing a strong visual identity. This would cover the colour on the walls as well as the furniture.
To complement the house colours, they created a giant tree wall mural as a celebration of the diversity within the school.
'We wanted the mural to depict the celebrations at Springfield that take place in this hall, including music, dance, drama, sport, attendance awards and class assemblies. These will be a constant reminder of how fantastic Springfield pupils can be and to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. We celebrate our school values weekly so the mural would be a good stimulus to use to discuss them, alongside a reminder of how we should treat each other'.
'We want children, teachers, parents and governors to be proud to be members of Springfield School. Children will look forward to assemblies more because the space will be an exciting and stimulating environment to be in. It will encourage more parents to attend meetings and feel part of the school as well as giving a better first impression to new parents and carers. The mural will help children to reflect on their learning and achievements'.
As with almost every entrant we received in 2015, what amazed us so much was how conscious Springfield's students were of how their environment had the potential to positively impact on their school experience. Combined with a great collaborative approach and creative, functional ideas, we were very pleased to award the 2015 prize to Springfield.
Find out how your school can get involved here.