At a school, a sign must clearly inform in a way that can be understood easily by a 55-year-old and a three-year-old, whilst also conveying the identity of the school. Creating well thought out signs and installing them is not as straightforward as it might seem and no doubt many schools will have taken advantage of the summer break to refresh or add to their own resources. Here, John Davies, Managing Director of FASTSIGNS UK, explains the process and how to work with sign makers to provide information and reinforce a school’s identity…
Imagine a school without any signage. How would a pupil get to the right classroom for their lesson? How would pupils know where to go in the event of a fire drill? How would a school designate areas only for staff? Which toilet would a child use? What kind of school is it? With so much important information to deliver, good signs within the education sector should never be taken for granted or undervalued.
When choosing new signs and displays, a school needs to decide who its signs are for and what information they will need to provide. There are several considerations to make here: the ages of the pupils and staff, whether there is a need for a variety of languages or if signs need to be made for those with special needs. In every case, keeping the sign simple and easy to read will be the best route to take.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that signage is one of the main representations of a school’s identity that can reassure parents, inspire children and help everyone navigate a sprawling campus. This means that good quality is paramount: clearly printed text using high quality colours on strong, durable materials, not only provides an excellent looking solution, it is also more cost effective in the long run.
While all schools require an array of permanent signage, there is also a constant demand for more temporary displays for events such as open days, exam result days and messages of good luck to leavers. Large banners are ideal in this situation to grab the attention of pupils, staff and parents instantly. No matter how long or short a period of time a sign will be displayed, maintaining consistent branding, colours and fonts throughout is key to instilling a sense of quality to a school’s reputation and messaging.
Some education facilities may be small - made up of just a few buildings – while others span a vast area with tens of hundreds of rooms in a number of buildings. While giving directions may be an obvious purpose for signage, it is important not to overlook health and safety and school policy instructions that, when clearly displayed, can contribute towards an improvement in a school’s OFSTED score. We have also seen interactive display boards that encourage pupils to engage with lessons and subjects to improve the OFSTED result.
Health and safety is not only key for the signage itself, but also the installation process. A good sign maker will be able to advise on the kinds of materials to use for your school’s signs within budget and free from sharp edges. The primary concern of any school during a process such as installing new signage, is the care of its pupils and staff. Therefore, making sure all installers are DBS checked, if they are going to be on site during class time is paramount, as is ensuring each worker understands all health and safety standards for the establishment. Since these elements are so vital, schools and sign makers need to ensure they are clearly communicating to one another at every stage of the process.
With well delivered messages, both between the school and sign maker and contained in the signs themselves, safely installed, excellent school signage can be easily achieved. While challenges do exist due to the nature of a school’s hours of operation, schools and sign makers can work closely together to create signs that not only deliver information, but also help to boost a school’s identity and reputation within the wider community.