Clever Classrooms research presented at Oxford University

Clever Classrooms research presented at Oxford University

GROUND-BREAKING research on the importance of design in schools carried out at the University of Salford is to be presented at one of the world’s most prestigious seats of learning.


The ‘Clever Classrooms’ project which examines evidence for the impacts of classroom design on learning is the subject of a Public Seminar at the Bodleian Education Library at Oxford University.

Lead author Peter Barrett, Professor of Management in Property and Construction, in the School of the Built Environment, conducts the seminar on January 25 as a guest of Professor Harry Daniels of the Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research.

Based on an empirical study of 3766 primary school pupils and the 153 classrooms they occupied, the EPSRC-funded project successfully isolated the impact of design features on the progress of pupils over a year, concluding that 16% of the variation on learning progress of pupils could be attributed to the spaces in which they studied.  


His report detailed practical suggestions for teachers, designers and policy-makers and has directly influenced the UK Department for Education, the US Green Building Council and the Norwegian Education Directorate.

The multi-disciplinary collaboration over several years also resulted in a radical new conceptual model of the holistic physical learning environment, taken from a child’s sensory perspective.

Professor Barrett is Director for Research for Salford University’s Institute for Dementia and an international advisor to the OECD and the US-based Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

He is currently focusing on the theme of Senses, Brain and Spaces with a particular interest in the area of primary school design and achieving optimal learning spaces.