Space in schools is always at a premium and rooms often need to work hard and fulfil a number of different functions to accommodate a multitude of activities and new teaching styles.
This means the school environment needs to be transformational when space is required urgently.
Intelligent schools are those that utilise their indoor physical spaces to maximise learning opportunities and cater for a range of curricular, extra-curricular and non-curricular activities undertaken by staff and pupils.
But how do you free up space or improve its functionality and efficiency for an expanding school population?
There is only so much feng shui, chair stacking and decluttering you can do.
More and more schools are finding ingenious ways to optimise their spaces by installing folding partitions, movable walls or concertina room dividers such as those offered by Building Additions.
These innovations can enable you to create new spaces (or refurbish existing ones) that actively support your learning goals and can be seen as an active part of the facilitation of the learning process.
For example, a simple partition could quite easily transform a classroom, assembly space, canteen or sports hall into two or more new spaces in a way that supports children’s personalised, independent and collaborative learning.
These stylish and convenient dividing systems make distinct and private areas and they can also be used for acoustic dampening.
But this is no DIY job.
This is professional work and something that Building Additions specialises in making a reality, via their floor or head supported solutions.
It offers a full service covering site survey, design and manufacture. It will deliver and install everything you need and is expert in space management and how to get the most out of your learning environment whilst focusing on your school’s vision, values, ethos and current practice.
The team knows about government guidelines, health and safety, acoustics and what works.
What Building Additions does is help schools to reimagine their defined and undefined spaces and their future learning environments so that more things are possible.
One of the biggest wastes of useable space in a school is the assembly hall, gymnasium or sports hall. By installing partitioning or moveable walls, schools can create new rooms that can be used flexibly and enjoyed, rather than the whole space remaining empty or under-utilised for large parts of the day.
For example, Building Additions can install double operable folding walls in a stage area so that the stage and the area in front can be converted into immersive hubs for pupil activities or for teaching rooms when closed.
These allow you to create a multi-functional learning and event space and ensure that there are no missed opportunities to use the environment to its fullest.
This can also save time and money as they are cheaper than renovation or construction.
Partitions can also make a statement about your school and deliver the wow factor by acting as a backdrop for displays.
Building Additions can digitally print any image onto a moveable wall system before installation. This could be anything from the Periodic Table to a goalkeeper making a save.
Adding folding wall systems and movable walls into your school could also be useful for specialist areas, or can be put to other multiple uses such as:
- quiet area
- support zone
- resource base
- counselling room
- safe space
- reading room
- mindful space
- sensory room
- dark room
- separate dining area
- music space
- media space
- ‘Room 13’ art studio, STEAM zone or makerspace
- performing space
- ‘pop up’ room with a wide variety of community uses
- assessment space
- temporary storage solution
- preparation area
- meeting space
- admin space
As the architect Herman Hertzberger says, there are other uses too – ‘unofficial’ spaces which are not functionally defined but can be interpreted and owned by the people who use them.
In whatever way a space is reimagined, this can then be opened up again for other uses as needed, such as for classwork, whole-school performances, open days or parents’ evenings.
These partition and sliding systems allow schools to adapt to changing activities and use space at a moment’s notice.
Being able to have a high level of flexibility around the organisation of spaces will have a huge impact on the way in which teaching, learning and social activities happen.
Building Additions can empower schools to explore new relationships between pedagogy and its physical environment and consider how the existing infrastructure can be changed to create versatile work environments such as breakout spaces or learning zones.
Research shows that “breakout space/s with a clear boundary (enclosed), attached to the classroom is beneficial for one-to-one and small group support in a more private atmosphere.”
You might be wondering whether you need to invest in space-making solutions. Does it make much of a difference? Does it really matter?
It matters a great deal: it supports learning, wellbeing and has a positive impact on school culture.
According to the Clever Classrooms report, there is robust evidence “that the physical characteristics of primary schools do impact on pupils’ learning progress in reading, writing and mathematics.”
The design of the spaces in schools does make a difference to how the school population feels and this in turn can affect how well we perform the activities in which we are engaged.
The impact learning environments have on educational outcomes is clear and so fundamentally rethinking space utilisation in our schools can have a real impact on learning, confidence, enjoyment and the ways we interact with each other.
Building Additions offers innovative, customisable and cost-effective ways to transform ordinary spaces into inspirational learning environments.
This is especially useful if you work in an open plan school environment because they can offer you more options to work in different ways, while still retaining the essence of your environment.
A lack of useable space isn’t something you are just stuck with.
Folding wall systems and movable walls are an exciting solution to a problem that just needs some creative thinking.
Building Additions can offer simpler space configurations to improve your school’s ecosystem through its bespoke and tailor-made service.
Spaces can constrain learning and suffocate it, but when used creatively they can also provoke, engage and reflect new ways of doing things.
Walls and partitions don’t just separate, they can unite and inspire, so if you think you are pressed for space, take a look at what Building Additions can do for your school. Their products are functional, durable, low maintenance, practical, affordable and above all, immediate.
Building Additions partition systems really are in a class of their own for making our learning spaces more adaptable and for meeting the demands of a busy school.
For a no-obligation site visit to discuss your specific requirements in more detail call Building Additions on 01373 454577 to arrange a convenient appointment.