Educators constantly have to use their imagination in order to create a welcoming and inspirational learning space. Teaching pupils of differing abilities in a single classroom means that rooms have to be divided or space has to be found elsewhere.
Tackling the space problem
With many schools across the UK dealing with overcrowded classrooms or a lack of space in general, an innovative solution has to be found. One way of tackling this problem is to divide a classroom with panels. For younger children, these screens can be used to construct an additional safe play area, and if they are built to resemble a moulded plastic train like those from Hope Education, they can provide a useful way of separating a play area from a learning space in the classroom. As an additional benefit, the screens can be folded away when not in use.
Imagination is essential
Schools with tight budgets often can’t afford to build a new classroom to cope with increased pupil numbers. Rather than erecting Portakabins, one school, Central First School in Ashington, Northumberland, has used a bus as an additional learning area. An article in The Daily Mail highlights the fact that one in five primary schools across the UK are over subscribed. The sums for transforming the Ashington’s double decker classroom, bought on eBay, only came to £8,000, a sum considerably less than constructing a new classroom. Mr Godfrey, the school’s headmaster, stated that the school had also converted toilets and cupboards into additional workspaces.
Brightening up the school library
In a bid to reintroduce children to the wonderful world of books, many school libraries across the UK have had to transform the appearance of their libraries. Forget dusty shelves filled with dull looking tomes that most children would simply ignore. Monochrome walls have also been abolished in a bid to make libraries look more enticing.
The Guardian recently featured school libraries from across the country where rooms have been divided by screens, decorated with brightly coloured art work and the actual book shelves come in different shapes and sizes. Many school libraries now ‘allow children to make discoveries, put technology to imaginative use, learn, perform and relax as well as read.’ The library has been reborn as an additional learning space.
Innovation leads the way
Some schools are suffering such pressure on their classrooms that they are literally ‘crammed to the rafters.’ In 2014 the Local Government Association found a one billion pound shortfall in funding to create more spaces. Schools in both Liverpool and East London have had to create play areas on the roofs of their schools as the playgrounds were increasingly filling up with temporary classrooms.
With a government restriction of only 30 places to a class and increasing pupil numbers, schools are going to have to dream up novel ways of approaching the problems of overcrowding. The days of separate classrooms for every academic activity will become a memory of the past.