The Schools Environment Survey of 2010 showed that the learning environment is key to children’s behaviour and happiness - and over 95% of teachers agree.

At Smarter Spaces, we want to help make school environments more attractive, affordable and inspiring for teachers and learners.

To do this, we have gathered all of the evidence from existing research to inform our education design principles.


Areas of Consideration


With increased pressures on school places and budgets, schools need to constantly adapt to ever-increasing demands. A full school redevelopment or extension will rarely be possible, so ensuring that you can optimise your space to full advantage, while using your budget in the most cost effective manner will allow you to stay ahead and remain flexible.



Design Principles




Directions and signs are helpful to all and invaluable to those with particular needs and language barriers. Your signage should be clear, with simple symbols, fonts and colour codes. Consider positioning your signs slightly lower so that they’re easily read by people of all heights and those in wheelchairs.


Durable Finishes


With tight budgets it’s tempting to favour inexpensive, poor-quality design. But with wear and tear a fact of school life, more durable paints and products are more cost effective and will keep your spaces looking better for longer.


Writable Surfaces


Children love to write on desks walls and desks - and not because it’s naughty! Harness the habit with writable surfaces, encouraging more collaborative learning and pupils engaging with their work and each other.


Case Study


IPACA, Isle of Portland


A core ambition of IPACA is the promotion of greater peer-to-peer learning. A key driver of this has been the effective use of writable surfaces in their school.

Tables, walls and even chairs have been turned into spaces where learners can remove themselves from the isolation of textbooks and work in groups to learn. Not only has it created the opportunity for collaboration, with the immediate learning benefits that come as a result, but it has also encouraged a new awareness and appreciation of each other’s work and impact.

Now writable surfaces are integrated throughout the school and across all year groups, so every learner, regardless of their age can experience these benefits.


Getting Started


Useful Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Could our community benefit from using our school spaces for other activities?
  • Can our signage be clearer and more inclusive?
  • Are we having to paint more regularly than we would like to?
  • Can I use writable surfaces to encourage group learning?


The Perfect Product

Diamond Matt, our most durable paint ever, will look better for longer and is perfect for busy areas that take lots of knocks. Crucially it will reduce your need to redecorate, saving time and money.


How We Can Help You

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Get in touch


Contact us to find out how we can help. If you’re already carrying out design projects in your school, we’d love to see how you’re getting on! Share your photos with us on social media.