Published - Saturday, May 20, 2017
A common question we are asked from head teachers with new buildings is "how can we make this feel more like a school?" And that's exactly what happened at Ernesford Grange Academy...
A very blank canvas
With hundreds of metres of empty walls and an urgent need to improve the environment for students and visitors, the Executive Headteacher turned to us for inspiration and advice. This is a common problem that we see in schools across the country so we were not surprised when, during our initial visit, it was clear that the school was lacking any real sense of personality, particularly throughout the long corridor spaces. Below: a typical corridor
Wherever schools are able to place subjects or faculties in defined areas it can be useful to begin by defining each subject or department. At Ernesford Grange we developed a series of imposing, chunky department signs, each using a consistent design and layout but produced in a different colour according to the final location. These were made oversized and installed horizontally to make more of an impact. As well as looking good, with secret fixings and a protective coating they are built to withstand school life.
Wall art with added value
The budget available for any installations was very limited so we already had our work cut out. In order to get the maximum impact per pound spent we designed a series of wallpaper graphics that combined valuable teaching and learning information with high aesthetic value. If the designs can help to inspire, educate or support the school's curriculum then the benefit to the school would be long-lasting. By making them available to other schools as part of our Wonderwall range we were able to reduce the cost significantly without compromising the quality of the creative.
With limited resources we were still able to create three distinct, imposing wall displays, each incorporating a different message or theme.
Maths Facts Wall Display
The longest wall was designed as a maths revision facts zone. Filled with a collection of useful information that students are required to know for their GCSEs this was placed within the Mathematics faculty so that it would serve as a 'learning wall' for students in all year groups. It also contains dozens of images, quotes and illustrations.
Inspiring Quotes Wall Display
Another corridor was filled wall-to-ceiling with a series of inspiring quotes from notable people. This was designed as a modular piece, with textured blocks contrasting with the images and text. The colours were derived from the school brand and combined with the black and white imagery add a sense of sophistication to the artwork.
Attendance Matters Display
A design that the school were very keen to see installed was one that explains the importance of attendance to the students. It was placed in a prominent location and its clear, direct message educates students and parents about the realities of taking days off school.
How did we do?
The project went without a hitch. The graphics were all designed, produced and installed on budget and the result was immediate and extremely positive. Students responded particularly well to the 'Maths Learning Wall' with one student commenting as soon as it was installed: "Brilliant, all of my equations thatI need to learn are here!" The school are now planning to commission a second phase to expand the concept to other areas within the building.
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Call us on 0845 208 6788 to see what we could do in your school. Ask about the range of existing designs in our Wonderwall range or commission something completely unique.