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Clever classrooms

Well-designed classrooms can boost learning progress in primary school pupils by up to 16% in a single year, research reveals

  • New report released today by the University of Salford shows clear evidence that well-designed primary school classrooms boost children’s learning progress in reading, writing and maths
  • 'Clever Classrooms' report follows the Government’s announcement of a £2bn investment across England to improve buildings and classrooms as part of the Priority School Building programme
  • Natural light, temperature, air quality, colour and individualised classroom design amongst the biggest physical factors impacting on pupils’ learning progress

Clever Classrooms Repot Cover - University of SalfordFor the first time, clear-evidence has been found that well-designed primary school classrooms can boost learning progress in reading, writing and maths.

This is according to the results of the HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)1 and undertaken by The University of Salford. Published today (Wednesday 25 February 2015) in a new report - ‘Clever Classrooms’ - the research reveals how differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms, such as air quality, colour and light, can together increase the learning progress of primary school pupils by as much as 16% in a single year.

The research shows that the impact of moving an ‘average’ child from the ‘least effective’ to the ‘most effective’ classroom can increase the “average child’s” performance by as much as 1.3 sub-levels of the national curriculum in a single year. This is significant given that guidance from the Department for Education says primary school pupils are expected to progress by 2 sub-levels in a single year. In total, the study collected performance statistics for 3,766 pupils.

The Salford research team, led by Peter Barrett, Professor of Management in Property and Construction from the University’s School of the Built Environment, spent the last three years collecting pupil data and carrying out detailed surveys of 153 classrooms from 27 very diverse schools across three local authorities: Blackpool County Council, Hampshire Council and the London Borough of Ealing Council.

Download the full report...

Download the (4 page) summary report with an infographic of the key research findings...