The transition back to a very different way of being at school can present challenges for these younger learners, as well as those that have complex learning or behavioural needs.

So as the guidance changes, being able to quickly adapt spaces through colours and symbols is not only a clever use of design – especially as these ideas can be installed without the need for specialist equipment – but also offers a low-cost way to help students feel more connected and reassured when in unfamiliar spaces, adding a sense of belonging.

Where classroom walls once groaned under the weight of pupils’ colourful creations, for the time being at least that will no longer be the case. Instead, paint can be used to create attractive wall art including murals.

Across all school years, children will be arranged in bubbles in a bid to cut down on unnecessary contact with others. Again colour can have a really important influence on the success of schemes like this. For example, if each bubble was referred to by a colour, then the blue bubble might only use classrooms, toilets and science labs with blue doors. The green bubble would stick to green areas and so on.

Larger spaces in schools such as libraries could be colour-coded too. Instead of one large library – it could be divided into four smaller pocket libraries for the use of each bubble. With 1,500 pupils in some secondary schools, transitional areas where pupils come into contact with each other, such as corridors, can be cause for concern, but this is where colour can be used to indicate the direction of travel.

Repurposing of outdoor spaces will also be a key feature going forward. Rather than being used solely for break time and sports, they will increasingly take on a learning function as more lessons take place away from the classroom. In come specific areas with specific functions that are clearly demarcated. There will be spaces for play and social interactions, alongside quiet spaces for work and contemplation. Exterior paints can easily be used to repurpose these spaces, alongside gazebos and planting.

And more than ever before across the education system, maintenance and decorating budgets are likely to be stretched to the absolute maximum. Paint is one of the most economical ways to repurpose any space when like in most sectors, a little will have to go a long way.


Education providers will also want to ensure whatever redecorating projects they do undertake leave their facilities looking newer for longer – delivering value for money and preventing the need for frequent redecoration. We would therefore expect an increase in the use of durable products, which are designed to give a longer-lasting finish that is easy to clean and resistant to scuffs, stains and other marks, while at the same time providing a colourful backdrop for learning.

Ian Gisbourne is national sector manager – education and property management at Dulux Trade


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