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Positive Learning Environments

School Design and Infrastructure

School design and infrastructure significantly contributes to providing an inclusive environment for all students. The design and use of space must be carefully considered and monitored to ensure consistency with human rights and discrimination legislation and support students’ learning and positive behaviour.

Universal design involves the creation of accessible buildings and infrastructure that can be used by a diverse range of students, reducing the need for individual adjustments, through the removal of physical and other barriers to participation and inclusion.

The Functional Design Brief for New Schools follows principles of universal design, and includes an appropriate range of learning areas and facilities to meet the needs of students with complex needs and challenging behaviour. These may include flexible classroom areas with adjacent small group learning spaces, an inclusive playground, as well as safe, calming sensory spaces.

It also ensures the design of a classroom is flexible to allow Learning Support Units to work seamlessly with mainstream classes to maximise the inclusion of students with disability.

Safe Sensory Spaces

Schools and classrooms are busy places. Positive learning experiences occur when students feel safe, calm, and relaxed in their environment. Sensory withdrawal spaces are important to support students who may be feeling overwhelmed by the school environment and/or who need a safe need place to help them relax or reduce anxiety and regulate their sensory needs.

Withdrawal spaces are available for all children and young people to access. Their aim is to help students feel able to return back to the classroom learning environment.