Clever Classrooms: evidence for the impacts of classroom design on learning

Based on an empirical study of 3766 primary school pupils and the 153 classrooms they occupied the EPSRC-funded HEAD (Holistic Evidence and Design Project has successfully isolated the impact of design features on the learning progress of those pupils over a year. This was based on multi-disciplinary collaboration over several years that resulted in a radical new conceptual model of the holistic physical learning environment, taken from a child’s sensory perspective. This increased scope of consideration was then twinned with multilevel modelling of the data to identify the classroom level impacts. These model out at explaining 16% of the overall variation in the learning progress of the pupils in the spaces studied. The findings support detailed practical suggestions for teachers, designers and policy-makers. There are surprises in relation to some aspects that do not appear. Sub-analyses of the data are being carried out and raise interesting issues around subject-specific design and design for particular groupings of pupils.