8 Ways to Optimise Space in Schools
Space in schools is always at a premium. Whatever the school, and however large the grounds, most schools are running out of space somewhere. Perhaps they could use more parking space. Or maybe the library just gets so crowded on Tuesday afternoons. Or perhaps when the 6th formers are all in their common room, it seems almost fit to burst.
Sometimes, it's not possible to just extend the car park, however there will be a solution somewhere. More and more schools are finding ingenious ways to free up their space. (Think bike racks, different parking space layout…?)
Let’s take the classroom for arguments sake. Every school has a classroom… and most school classrooms we see seem to be crammed full of furniture. We haven’t decided yet whether it is a decades-old accumulation of mis-matched furniture or the lack of space planning that makes these rooms sometimes feel cluttered and oppressive.
- Get rid of loose storage. Incorporate your teaching aids into fixed storage like Teaching wall.
- Get rid of paper or use smaller tables. Increasing the use of tablets and other computer technology will free up desk space that would have previously been used for paper.
- Does every student need their own desk? We’re in an age of reform. There may be ways that you can cut down on the number of desks to create a more collaborative environment. The use of benching helps to save space in schools.
- Stackable chairs mean that all chairs can be easily cleared out of the way, leaving more space in schools for group work and other activities that don’t require seating.
- Flip-top tables. That’s it. Table tops that flip. The old fashioned name was fold-away tables. Flip top tables are easy to store, easy to use, and of course, easy to flip. With just a press of a button or pull of a lever, you can safely store the table top at a vertical angle. This saves you space, energy and time – and we’re guessing you could probably use all three?
- Is your desking layout effective? Make sure that you’ve researched the options to make sure that you have got the best mix of efficient space occupancy and productive teaching space.
- Declutter. Take a look at what you have in the classroom. Is there anything there that hasn’t been used or looked at for over a year? If so, you probably won’t need it right there in the classroom. Could you relocate some old books to the library for example?
- Consider every piece of furniture – does it have a useful purpose, and is it being used? If it isn’t, then get rid of it. Do you really need a teachers table, or at least could it be smaller?
If it’s not classroom space that you struggle with, try holding a brainstorm in your own office (or staffroom) to discuss ways to save space in your car park. Your library. Or your sports cupboard. And one more tip before we go… involving the students in these discussions often brings out some clever and creative ideas that an adult would never even dream of.
Just try bringing it up in conversation during your next lunch break. We are interested to hear all of your creative ideas for saving space in schools. The more ingenious, the better…Have fun!