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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

A classroom shouldn’t just be a backdrop for learning, but a positive influence on it.

It should engage pupils in their subject and with each other - so learning is more collaborative and fun. But at secondary school the classroom environment is too often neglected. Amid other priorities and pressures, the importance of design and environment can be easily forgotten.

Gary Spracklen, the Director of Change and Innovation at IPACA, said: ‘Classrooms in primary school tend to be more engaging than at secondary. It’s time that secondary school caught up.’

Design Principles

Writable Surfaces

Walls aren’t just room fixtures; they’re opportunities to make learning more collaborative, with projectors, whiteboards and glass surfaces. Consider the benefits of writable surfaces - encouraging more collaborative learning, where pupils engage with their work and each other.

Furniture Layouts

Easily moveable furniture provides flexibility, so you and your learners can choose the best layout for individual lessons. In general rows are better for focus-led learning, while group tables encourage more participation.

Make it Fun

Fun is the easiest way to change behaviour - so says Volkswagen’s ‘fun theory’. We agree. At secondary level, spaces that reflect the ‘real world’ and the environment of the work place can help learners feel engaged as they think more seriously about their future lives and careers.

Case Study

IPACA, Isle of Portland

As part of a larger project, the learners were tasked with the redevelopment of their classrooms.

With an ambition to not simply create generic boxes for classrooms but lively, dynamic areas, the learners were inspired by major cities around the world in the design of their classrooms.

Alongside murals of London, New York and Sydney, the spaces are equipped with flexible furniture, writable surfaces and a Twitter-booth - all of which help to create a sense of excitement, maturity and relevance to the outside world.

Getting Started

Useful Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are my classrooms - especially for low-participation subjects - visually inspiring?
  • Is my furniture layout flexible enough for different activities?
  • Could writable surfaces be used in our classrooms to support group work?
  • Do any of our classrooms feel too stuffy?


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 and feel bigger and brighter.

How We Can Help You