RAW schools road trip - top 5 challenges

The RAW team have been travelling up and down the country on a special education road trip. Our goal – to see how we can help improve the learning environment in schools.

We offered a free School Learning Environment Audit to 5 schools or academy trusts. We carried out a review on their brand personality, interiors and surroundings and then provided a brief report on practical suggestions on how they could improve the school.

Top 5 challenges

No.5 – Broken window effect

All the schools were doing a great job with the resources they had. But many areas of the schools outdoor campus had been forgotten. Large bins often gathered in main thoroughfare areas or patches of worn and muddy grass were left to spread. This might seem trivial to a school learning environment but these areas could be addressed quickly with minimal effort - improving the school image raising standards of general tidiness and therefore behaviour.

No.4 – Museum of architecture

Some schools, especially academy trusts, had new buildings on their campus. These provide fantastic new resources for the school and local community but often the new architecture is built siloed away from the existing buildings. This can make it difficult to find your way around the school, especially if you're a Year 7! Some broader thinking on how to weld a new building into the existing campus and school learning environment could bring huge advantages to creating a stronger joined up experience.

No.3 – Maximising opportunities

Many schools also have ongoing maintenance budgets and opportunities to improve the interior of corridors and classrooms. This work is often carried out in the summer break and left to the facilities team to do their best in choosing colours and layout. With a little bit of clever graphic and interior design you could transform these refresh opportunities to create a consistent image and approach across the school. It may take a few years but in the end it will all look and feel great.

No.2 – Blu-tack branding

With the lack of an over all guide on strategy for signage or graphics, most staff behave the same way – they brand it themselves and stick it to walls with blue tack. This may meet the short term goal but over time areas become covered with confusing announcements, outdated posters and directions. Have a look at your environment now and we guarantee blutackitus has taken hold. A simple brand guide and signage approach would help stop this, creating a more coherent environment that helps communicate clearly and creatively about school life.

No.1 – No map, no compass

Our number one challenge is that most schools don't have a joined up approach to their learning environment and communications. Each part of the school is developed piece meal. New buildings are often not connected to older architecture. Staff create their own individual communications in the vacuum of a broader joined up solution.

All the schools we met had amazing staff, fantastic students and were all progressing well towards achieving high standards. But they all agreed that the learning environment could be much better. We believe a clear strategic and creative approach towards the school learning environment could transform many schools and make them even greater places to learn.

If you think we could help your school get in touch

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