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Research has demonstrated that the design of school buildings can have a significant impact on students’ health, wellbeing, attendance and learning. It also has an impact on teachers’ recruitment, retention, and sick leave.

Summary Review: July 2018

Green Classrooms

St Andrew’s is a great school; it has modern buildings with lots of natural light, connection to garden space, and a small nurturing school community. Can we make it even better? Below is a summary of Green Classrooms’ recommendations. To implement these changes, we are applying for grants and fundraising, and are grateful for all practical parent help including Working Bees.

Air Quality

Improving air quality has been shown to increase the accuracy and speed of learning tasks, student focus, attention, and concentration.
Possible improvements include:
• Monitor air pollutants and open windows when necessary
• Replace some windows and roof lights with openers
• More plants outside and inside to absorb pollutants
• No harmful emissions in furniture, paints, cleaning products, etc

Lighting & daylighting

Studies have shown natural light improves progress in maths and reading, improves mood, attention and sleep quality. Better quality electric lighting can improve physical health, learning and growth.
Possible improvements include:
• New blinds, baffles, light shelves on windows/roof lights
• Replace roof lights with solar control glazing to reduce glare
• New roof lights/windows to darker classrooms
• Replace electric lights for more even light distribution/low glare/closer
to daylight colour, and sensors to reduce energy use

Thermal comfort

Reducing temperature can increase the speed of math tasks and language-based learning, improve attention and concentration and reduce the spread of viruses. Possible improvements include:
• Radiator controls, fans, dehumidifiers
• Replacement high performance roof lights
• Thermometers/monitors in classrooms to encourage window opening
• New opening windows/roof lights
• Solar shading

Interior Design

Interior design solutions such as breakout spaces, storage, student displays and good furniture improve learning and create a sense of ownership/identity and increase participation. Possible improvements include:
• Avoid displays on windows – clear view to outside
• Well defined learning zones for younger pupils
• Pupil created displays to create identity for each classroom
• Minimise visual distractions around the teaching wall/projector

Acoustics

Research has shown acoustic interventions can support learning and improve memory. Possible improvements include:
• Add opening roof lights/windows away from road/playground
• Sound barriers to traffic (planting etc)
• Higher performance glazing towards road/playground/corridors
• Acoustic absorption (free hanging absorbers/acoustic ceiling) in Hall
• Acoustic insulation between classrooms/corridor (Y4/Y5)

Biophilia

Indoor plants can improve performance in spelling and mathematics. Views of and connection to nature improve attention and reduce fatigue and stress. Possible improvements include:
• Inside – plants, wooden furniture, sculptures, clear view to nature
• Playgrounds – natural materials, shapes from nature, diverse
planting, encourage bird/insect life, plant species that show seasonal
change, multi-sensory, and loose parts that the children can use to
create their own play, responsibility for their own garden
• Teaching – Forest School, Horticulture therapy, seasonal cooking,
Welly walks, learning outside the classroom, loose parts play

Mind

Learning outside the classroom, creative arts, and relaxation therapy improve confidence/self-esteem, attention, resilience, empathy, critical thinking, responsibility, cooperation, communication, and persistence.
Possible improvements include:
• More opportunities for learning outside the classroom
• Creative learning
• Relaxation practices such as yoga and mindfulness

Body

Standing desks have shown to increase physical activity, energy expenditure, relieve stress on the spine, improve engagement and have learning benefits. Good diet has been shown to improve learning outcomes.

Possible improvements include:
• Active/standing desks, active transport (walking bus/cycle storage)
• Outdoor learning, specialist instructors, after school club variety
• Filtered water, food growing and cooking, review school meals

clear

What are you looking for?