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Colour safe


Ian Gisbourne of Dulux Trade discusses how colour can be employed to help keep students safer in all education settings, in a post-Covid world


All academic institutions, from primary schools to colleges, face the same fundamental issue – how to increase the space between people when premises remain the same size


remotely, as classrooms, playgrounds and lecture halls fell silent. But, as schools, colleges and universities have opened their doors once more to welcome back curious minds, a lot has changed.


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The demands of social distancing and virus suppression mean these places – once so familiar to students, teachers and parents – are now home to a raft of new rules, regulations and procedures, all expressly designed to keep everyone safe.


But how do we ensure that in this process we don’t lose the essential characteristics of our education establishments? How can we avoid transforming these environments of nurture, play, exploration and delight into areas of inflexibility, fear and rigidity? All academic institutions, from primary schools to colleges, face the same fundamental issue – how to increase the


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his past year has been like no other in the education sector. Many students spent long months learning


space between people when premises remain the same size.


This is where expert use of colour and a focus on occupant-centred design can help. In primary schools, it’s well-known how a strong colour on one wall, with muted colours elsewhere, can help focus children’s attention. We can take that principle and apply that elsewhere – by using colour to demarcate spaces – such as areas to sit, areas to play and areas to keep one-metre plus apart.


For younger children especially, social distancing can be a challenge – and never more so than in a playground. But, by using exterior paint to create a star on the ground for example, with children standing on its points – they can have conversations with each other in an entirely safe manner. The same effect can be achieved with animals and flowers – creating a warm, engaging environment and avoiding anything that looks too much like a warning.


ADF JUNE 2021


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