Schools Renaissance

From June 2004 to March 2006
Project Leader(s): Elaine Hall, Kate Wall
Staff: Pam Woolner, Caroline McCaughey, Steve Higgins
Contact: Kate Wall
Sponsors: The Design Council and CfBT

Introduction The Design Council is has funded a team within the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University for the period June 2004- March 2006 to evaluate the impact of Schools Renaissance and to explore the context of school environmental design. The literature review, jointly funded by CfBT, was led by Steve Higgins and Elaine Hall and has been completed and published (Higgins et al 2005). The empirical project is working with up to 12 schools over three years to explore how school procurement processes can be aligned with a clearly-defined educational vision and is led by Kate Wall and Elaine Hall. The project has aimed to refocus schools’ thinking about environmental design through a process of ‘design immersion’ which allows context-specific problem identification and solution generation. Particular innovations have been implemented in each school and the effects on teacher and student engagement, motivation and affect monitored. Research paradigm Our work draws on traditional evaluative approaches, including the use of cross-project research tools, as well as incorporating some elements of practitioner enquiry, in partnership with the teams of teachers in the project schools. Research methodology Pupil questionnaires and staff interviews have been completed by all project schools. In addition, video of students and teachers using the newly designed areas of the schools has been collected. Individual schools have used a range of questionnaire, object-focused analysis, pupil views, interview and monitoring data to explore the experience and impacts of change. Publications Higgins, S., Hall, E., Wall, K., Woolner, P. and McCaughey, C. (2005) The impact of school environments: a literature review. London: Design Council/ CfBT.


Dr Pamela Woolner
Senior Lecturer in Education