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Improve Teaching and Learning Experience

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

The learning environment can have a profound effect on the education experiences of both teachers and learners within a school.

Whether by understanding the impact that certain environmental factors can have on individuals, or simply through the clever use of furniture to support specific education objectives, every school can turn drab environments into assets.

As found by Higgins et al (2005), ‘Classrooms can support individualisation by offering a variety of opportunities for different modes of learning - it is necessary for all classrooms to have some degree of flexibility’.

Design Principles

Light & Ventilation

Studies have shown that poor air quality can see performance drop by as much as 7% (Claussen, 2015). Be sure to plan your classroom so you can easily access all windows and blinds to control light and temperature at optimal levels.

Focus for teaching wall

Schools should have a bold and bright feature wall on the teaching wall, complemented by more neutral colours on surrounding walls - if possible, set yours opposite the main window to maximise light. Recent studies have shown that children ‘in Low Visual Distraction conditions spent less time off-task and obtained higher learning scores than children in the High Visual Distraction conditions’ (Godwin and Fisher, 2014).

Learning Zones

Support different types of learning by dividing your classrooms into zones for different play-based activities. Relate your colour scheme to the activities - blues for water-based activities, calm purples and greens for reading areas, etc.

Case Study

Cadoxton School, Barry, Wales

As her starting point, headteacher Janet Hayward asked, ‘What would the perfect space look and feel like?’

The school was duly transformed into an environment with greater flexibility and engagement - including:

  • Minimal furniture and clutter, movable sofas and bean bags - all for maximum flexibility
  • Eight computer workstations in every classroom
  • A ‘magic paint’ white wall for teacher demonstrations and to project pupils’ work

Since the redesign, the school’s Core Subject Indicator for Key Stage 2 is up from 60% to 90%, while attendance has risen to almost 95%.

Getting Started

Useful Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are our classrooms well lit and ventilated?
  • Could my room layout be hindering teaching and learning in my classrooms?
  • Are my classroom learning walls over stimulating with material?
  • Is there the possibility for children to work in groups around tables in our current classrooms?

The Perfect Product

Diamond Matt Light & Space uses revolutionary Lumitec technology that helps reflect twice as much light around a room making even the smallest spaces look bigger and brighter.

How We Can Help You


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.