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Planning Learning Spaces: How to Rethink Classroom Space Utilization for Better Learning Outcomes

Fe News released a recent article that illustrates how Trumpington Park Primary School, part of Cambridge Primary Education Trust, has committed to an international project that plans to rethink space utilisation in the classroom. Planning Learning Spaces was a book published in October 2019, and it was a guide that looked to gather expertise from educationalists and innovative school architects from all over the world to inspire the design and development of more intelligent learning spaces.

“To support this, Planning Learning Spaces in Practice was launched to help schools translate their educational vision into learning space design principles, enabling them to create new, or refurbish existing, spaces that actively support their learning goals. Schools are guided through a reflective process, building the link between curriculum and design via a structured framework. Focusing on the school’s vision, values and ethos, the process helps translate learning behaviours and activities into design principles”.

Trumpington Park Primary School will participate in this global pilot of the Planning Learning Spaces in Practice project. The main idea of their project is to align physical learning environments with the educational vision of schools, supporting children’s personalised and independent learning.

“Whilst we want to emphasise collaboration and ownership of learning, this can sometimes feel restricted by the furniture and fixed features of a space and make it harder for children to be able to do some of the things we feel are fundamental in their learning. From there, we have looked at different models to enable children to be able to work in different ways in that space” said Mel Shute, Headteacher at Trumpington Park Primary School.

The Planning Learning Spaces Design Framework looks to build an exchange and consensus between the teaching staff and the wider school community to support change, by empowering schools to create this very important relationship between pedagogy and space. The main objective is to design and organize spaces in order to lead to better learning outcomes.

“The Planning Learning Spaces approach represents common sense about the positive articulation of spaces and pedagogy. Delivering a methodology that makes this connection explicit, and ultimately driven by educational imperatives, is a really important potential contribution and I look forward to being involved in the rigorous assessment of outputs from this project”, said Professor Peter Barrett, author of the Clever Classrooms report.

At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and learning outcomes. To see more about our recent work in developing outdoor learning, please check out:


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