Mike Haslin, Chief Executive Officer at TUCO, The University Caterers Organisation, discusses how to achieve value for money in these unpredictable times
Gratnells Learning Rooms – embracing the full spectrum of the school environment
The interdependence of school architecture with teaching methods, the role of digital media and the smart use of available space, not merely to facilitate the learning process but to stimulate it, are now part of the education landscape.
In the classroom, outdoors, in communal areas and in spaces where flexibility of use is paramount, there is a balance to be achieved between inspiration and good order. With its ‘Learning Rooms’ philosophy, Gratnells offers architects and planners both an innovative approach to the best use of space and a practical set of solutions to store, display, archive, present and protect teaching and learning materials.
In Science subjects, for example, teachers cannot work without a good prep room. Separate zones may be needed to cope with the range of activities involved, including handling of dangerous chemicals and volatile materials. At the very simplest level, with some 30 basic colours of storage trays and the ability to produce to any recognised Pantone reference, Gratnells offers high visibility colour coding options to identify and locate hazardous materials.
As more sophisticated requirements become apparent, the company can offer software-based planning tools to facilitate design and layout of prep rooms and laboratories including the application of integral frames, trolleys, trays and inserts to create good order for learners and a lesson-ready infrastructure for teachers.
As a report from the Association for Science Education made clear “Communication between architects, designers and manufacturers on the one hand and science teachers on the other is essential for developing science provision for the highest standards of teaching and learning.”
With the ubiquitous availability of digital technology in schools, accelerated by the launch of the iPad in 2010, new challenges have arisen for the safe storage and ready availability of devices. There now exists a permanent requirement to manage, control, safeguard and identify the learning media.
Smart design from Gratnells has produced a series of charging trays and trolleys which merge seamlessly into the storage system, whilst offering an efficient charging regimen ensuring that devices are always work-ready.
In a 2015 report entitled ‘Innovative Schools: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age’ from the Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the European Parliament contained this statement
“The digital revolution is… transforming the way children play, access information, communicate and learn. We need to take care of our future by designing innovative and engaging learning environments”.
Gratnells Learning Rooms offers a mix of ideas, advice and content for the education sector which seeks to be both practical and visionary, working in common cause with designers and architects to create a better environment – and better outcomes for learners and teachers alike.