Delivering the ‘wow’™ factor

Furniture designed by Innova has played a key role in creating an impressive new facility at Clayesmore School

Set in one of the most picturesque corners of the British Isles, the first word that springs to mind when approaching Clayesmore School in Dorset is ‘wow’. Founded in 1896, the school is situated on a grand estate, in the shadow of the ancient beauty of Hambledon Hill, its Neolithic long barrow and spectacular Iron Age hill fort forming a striking and inspiring backdrop. It’s a breathtaking location, steeped in history and tradition.

However, Clayesmore is anything but a monument to the past: thanks to a major programme of investment, it’s now well-placed to meet the needs of 21st-century learners.

Working alongside the school and their nominated consultant, Innova Design Solutions designed, manufactured and installed inspirational science labs, space-efficient ICT suites and a stimulating photography room which form part of an impressive new classroom facility for use by around 500 pupils.

The science labs were designed with a ‘hot corner’ layout to create a flexible learning environment, which addresses the need to provide both a working classroom and practical laboratory within the same space. This layout allows for shorter lines of communication and a more collaborative approach to learning, with the furniture designed so that all students face forwards towards the teacher for theory lessons.High-performance Trespa and laminate surfaces were used throughout to ensure the durability and longevity of the labs.

Storage to hold books and equipment was integrated seamlessly into the classroom design, allowing surfaces to be kept clean and clutter free. ICT and photography suites were installed with sawtooth desking to maximise the working space for the students. Sawtooth benching is ergonomically designed to maximise comfort and encourage productivity and learning. A brightly coloured storage wall was also designed to provide the school with an effective storage solution whilst making efficient use of the corridor space.

“The school are delighted with their new and stimulating learning facilities, which provide a real ‘wow’ factor for staff and students to enjoy,” says director of Innova Design Solutions, Melanie Laing. “Classrooms and science laboratories need to be both inspiring and practical to get the best out of teachers and students, while also providing value for money from a major investment.

“Installing seating and furniture that is correctly sized and fit for purpose is vital. Getting the right shape and design of benching also has a major impact on how well the room works. Students who sit at uncomfortable seats often let their attention span wander, which can limit the learning process.

“The angled sawtooth benching takes full advantage of space, giving students more elbow room with individual spaces as opposed to sitting side by side where left-handed and right-handed users can clash. With more room to work, students are able to sit comfortably, which will increase their concentration and engagement with learning.”

And it’s not just the students who are benefitting from the new furniture: angled benching is also flexible to suit a variety of teaching styles. “The teacher has the option, depending on where they prefer to teach, to either have students facing towards them or away from them to see the student’s screens,” says Melanie. “This allows the teacher to control the learning environment, with shorter lines of communication to ensure students remain on task and focused on learning.”

Innova Design Solutions are specialists in the design, manufacture and installation of high-quality interiors to the education industry, and have wide experience in the creation of learning environments. 

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