We have been doing our research

The school estate planning and interior design teams are very interested in the research behind visible learning and agile spaces in schools.

Clever Classrooms

Clever Classrooms is research by the University of Salford, United Kingdom.

The research is highlighted in this article by Edutopia which shows this useful chart

Source: Barrett et al., 2015. Chart: percentage of academic improvement by factor: complexity 12%, colour 11%, light 21%, temperature 12%, air quality 16%, flexibility 17%, ownership 11%. personalising factors like flexibility and student ownership were responsible for 28% of the academic progress attributed to classroom design.
Image source: Edutopia website

The Impact of Design on Student Outcomes

The impact of design on student outcomes is a report produced by The Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

The Ministry of Education in New Zealand has a lot of great resources and information on the learning environment. Including an innovative learning environment assessment tool and case studies to look at.

We are looking at ways to measure the success of the classroom designs on learner and staff wellbeing and learner attainment and achievement.

Professor Stephen Heppell

The work of Bournemouth University’s Professor Stephen Heppell got our attention. He talks about how the learning environment affects performance. There are many interesting  areas he has been exploring including environmental factors, shoeless Learningwrite-on surfaces and use of furniture. For more information take a look at Stephen Heppell’s website.

A comprehensive user manual on how to use these agile classrooms has been developed by Stephen, Juliet and Melissa Heppell is a great resource. Linked from the Learniture website.

Stephen Heppell was invited to a Creative Conversation in 2015 check out the video it’s really interesting and shows examples of what schools are doing around the world.

A Creative Conversation with Stephen Heppell and David Cameron: 10th March 2015, Edinburgh

Architecture & Design Scotland

The publication, from Architecture & Design Scotland and Scottish Futures Trust
talks about the lessons learned from the Inspiring Learning Spaces initiative. You can download their leaflet showcasing 20 inspiring learning spaces.


Changing the way we use our learning spaces and the introduction of new furniture that encourages a more collaborative and active learning style can impact on the noise created in a space particularly if the classroom is open plan.

As with the majority of the research and guidance here, it will come as no surprise that improvements in acoustics are helped by the way the learning space is used. Read this informative guide by Ecophon about acoustics in the classroom.

Biophilic Design

  • Biophilia is the bond between human beings and nature
  • Biophilic design is building nature into the built environment to meet the need of human beings to connect to nature. Biophilia can also increase feelings of happiness and well‐being. Research has shown that exposure to nature can lower stress, elevate your mood, make you feel more relaxed and improve cognitive functions.
  • Children have an innate biological tendency to bond with the natural world. Regular positive interactions with nature allow children to feel comfortable and grow to love it.
  • The best learning environments are informal and naturalistic.

Human Spaces: The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace

This research document is discussing the workplace but the research’s findings are applicable to learning spaces and home life also as it is about how biophilic design affects us.

Bring your own plant to school

You will notice a few plants in the photographs of the new nursery and school interior designs. These are being introduced for their attractiveness and connection to nature as well as their role in reducing CO2 and increasing oxygen bringing improvements in behaviour, engagement and wellbeing. Some really interesting reading on Professor Stephen Heppell’s website about this research and about learners bringing their own plants to their school.

Teachers as designers

We have also been inspired by the work of Anne Knock, an educationalist whose work involves looking at the design of the learning environment. Anne gave us a presentation that inspired us to think about teachers as designers. Anne Knock’s website.

Anne also pointed us toward an interesting info-graphic by which gives an overview of the different generations with a focus on Generation Z for children born 1995-2009. It shows major influences, how they are engaged effectively and learning styles, the trends in further education and careers and new jobs created.