Here we give our views on the thinking behind some of the spaces we’ve included in our design for the ‘Schools of the Future’.
6th form and library
Preparing students for their career is fundamental in the development of sixth form spaces. Whether it’s moving on to further education or entering the world of business, students of today need to be ready for and responsible for their output. Allowing self direction and self motivation is critical in making learning spaces for tomorrow’s leaders. The success of SCRUM and agile based working are well documented and there is a simple way to facilitate this through the development of learning hubs and learning spaces.
Think private booths for focus working, collaborative tables for teamwork, and meeting rooms for larger group work such as creative projects requiring use of presentation facilities and whiteboards. It’s important to have spaces where introverts can find privacy, quiet, and focus, and where extroverts can enjoy the buzz of collaboration in open team spaces – all created with modular furniture, acoustic dividers and interior planting.
Through 2019 and 2020 the government poured an extra £350M of funding to provide specialist support and toilet facilities, helping those with complex special educational needs and disabilities. This coupled with an additional £100M investment to create more specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools enables children and young people access to facilities that meets their individual needs. This could include state of the art facilities such as sensory rooms and specialist equipment.
There are incredible opportunities to intelligently design and plan spaces for children with disabilities such as ADHD and autism. Sensory spaces can include varying textures, mirrors, vibration, light and sound to engage and stimulate students in their own ways of learning. There are some great examples of the benefits that nature has on our learning and no more so than for these SEN spaces with biophilia making such an impact on our mood and senses, bringing as much of the outside and nature into our spaces is proven to enhance our ability to learn.
Using every opportunity to remove walls and learn in open spaces is the concept behind the flipped classroom. It’s well documented that the trend to move to more grown up spaces where students have choice in the location and style of work they want to carry out improves their learning. Not every lesson can be taught in this way, however we encourage a mix of learning spaces to allow choice both for teachers and for students.
Studies have shown that students are more likely to get distracted by outside activities than they are by working in an open plan space. The use of glass allowing for sight lines across classrooms and corridors can be a challenging shift in thinking and learning styles. Many of the teachers we have spoken to have agreed that the distraction is minimal and the benefits of being able to see are high. Having a good understanding of how spaces are planned for lockdown is equally important and form part of any consultancy.
One of the key areas for prospective students is to understand what their own personal space is going to be like, and instead create spaces with character that make students take ownership, even feeling home-from-home.
Providing students with a modern, comfortable and welcoming space to live in makes them feel valued and respected, encourages their independence, and eases them into maturity whilst still being in a safe space.
Through those early and formative years, so much information is being taken in. We are passionate about this age group and committed to making sure they are given spaces that contribute to their growth in a positive and inclusive way. Our Primary School designs break down constraints of traditional teaching spaces by using glass, folding walls and open areas; a truly engaging environment that enables this age group to thrive.
It’s amazing how a washroom in a building can tell you how much people care about its users. Although it’s a simple thing to design, a creative use of colour, shapes and textures is a way to increase a positive experience without a high cost.
Forget rows of desks with lines of computer screens; instead imagine an IT suite with an intelligent teaching space. Teaching staff can view what’s on everyone’s screens, students can focus on their own digital development, yet the environment still factors human-centric needs through biophilic design, such as floor to ceiling daylight and natural wood panels.
AW Learning Spaces create education spaces that boost admissions, improve academic outcomes, increase student and teacher experience, demonstrate your commitment to excellence through innovative, engaging, state of the art facilities, and pioneer a superior style of education.