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Staff room – 10 ways to improve yours for teachers

June 1, 2024, 9:51 GMT+1
Read in 4 minutes
  • Has your school’s staff room seen better days? Hilary Goldsmith offers some advice on how to make it a more welcoming and useful space…
Staff room – 10 ways to improve yours for teachers

Transform your school staff room into a haven of relaxation and productivity with these ten improvement ideas that cater to the needs of hardworking teachers…

1. Comfort

Staff rooms are places for resting and taking time out from the hectic timetable of the school day, so invest in some comfortable seating that allows staff to really relax.

Look beyond the standard ‘visitors seating’ in the catalogue for something you’d like to sit in yourself. Use calming colours and soft furnishings.

2. Layout

Avoid the ‘airport departure lounge look’ of chair rows arranged round the edge of the room. Instead, create smaller, more personal seating clusters that will allow friendship groups to sit together.

Consider also grouping two or three seats together for those colleagues who prefer a little more privacy.

3. Recharging

Make sure your staff room has plenty of power sockets. Along with the tea and coffee-making necessities, staff will appreciate the chance to recharge their phones, tablets and laptops in a secure place.

Just remember to ensure that their chargers are all safe and have been through a PAT testing process.

4. Safety and security

Staff without access to an individual or departmental office will want a lockable space in which they can keep their personal items.

Make your staff room lockable, with a secure entry system, and provide lockers in which nomadic or supply staff can leave their bags and personal effects.

5. No work

Don’t be tempted to use your staff room as a giant work noticeboard. Remove student-based data or information about deadlines, targets and reporting and allow it to be a place of relaxation.

Share work information electronically, and provide a noticeboard or two for personal notices and wellbeing information only.

6. Tea and toast

Alongside the usual kettle and sink, think about providing donated coffee machines, toasters and a selection of hot drink options.

Even if you can’t afford to offer refreshments for free, make sure that what you can provide is high quality and welcoming. There should be no chipped mugs and lots of teaspoons!

7. Reading

Encourage reading for wellbeing by providing a shelf or area for a book swap. Staff can bring in any books they’ve read and finished with and swap them for another.

Consider setting up a lunchtime or after-school book club, where staff can befriend others outside their immediate circle of colleagues.

8. Cleanliness

Nothing says ‘lack of care’ louder than mouldy coffee cups in a dirty sink. If you can provide a dishwasher, that’ll really help.

Staff should always clean up after themselves, of course. However, make sure that your staff room is also being attended to by your cleaning team, to keep it feeling fresh.

9. Online access

Provide some spare PCs that colleagues can use during breaks and after school. Enable access to shopping sites in the staff room to support busy parents.

Encourage staff to engage with social media and join topical education debates on X (formerly Twitter) for great CPD.

10. Creativity

Why not leave some puzzles, games or craft items in a creative corner? Tired minds can be refreshed by spending the lunch break playing a board game, beading or even trying out needlecrafts.

You may well see some hidden talents emerge from colleagues who are happy to share their skills…

Hilary Goldsmith is director of finance at a secondary school in Brighton.