At Westminster Education Forum, Johnny Corbett, Head of Communications at Dulux, explained the success of their Smarter Spaces campaign. This was launched by Dulux with the aim of improving classroom design and the other physical factors that can support education. Over the past two years, Dulux have listened to more than 100 educators and helped more than 20 schools complete their makeovers. Their goal was to be the consistent voice in education calling for effective learning environments while also inspiring and supporting schools across the country to make the change – be it through small tweaks or major overhauls.
In regards to the campaign, Dulux said: “We launched Smarter Spaces two years ago because we believe children learn best in a well-designed classroom. We also know there are huge benefits when children are given a say in how their classroom looks and feels. Whether it was a teacher telling us that their newly designed library caused a spike in student reading, or that calming colours helped a student’s wellbeing – it’s clear that better environments support education. So far we’ve helped more than 20 schools complete their makeover and in the future we’ll be supporting even more schools to make the change.”
One of the school’s that Johnny profiled at the seminar was Ursuline Academy and he explained the positive impact that the campaign had on the school. As part of the campaign the academy in London redecorated their design and technology classroom because the students wanted a space in which they could, ‘let their imaginations be set free’. They also wanted to encourage more girls to consider taking this subject as a GCSE subject and felt that a new classroom design could help.
Students are more engaged and enthusiastic about their projects. The new DT classroom is regularly being used throughout lunchtime and after school
At the start of the project a group of students worked as a small team and nominated specific roles so that everyone had a part to play in the process. They were mentored by the school’s STEM Ambassador, who advised them on good working practices. They also created a working lunch system and an after-school club to develop their initial drawings. As they were working with Smarter Spaces they were then able to make their designs a reality.
The students were particularly pleased with their inclusion of inspirational quotes from civil rights activists like Maya Angelou to tech revolutionaries like Steve Jobs. They wanted to include these quotes so that it would help to nurture the next generation of designers.
Following the completion of their new classroom, a teacher from the academy commented: “Students are more engaged and enthusiastic about their projects. The new DT classroom is regularly being used throughout lunchtime and after school. Our very own STEM Ambassador, who helped the girls with their project, also recently won the STEM prize at the 2016 Black Youth Achievement Awards.”