Submitted by Stephen Morris on 2012-10-05
North Yorkshire

Open plan classrooms - benefiting primary education in York?

At Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary School they are embracing their open-plan classroom design.

By taking away the dividing walls, the open plan environment is changing the style of teaching and encouraging collaboration between teachers. Chris Wigley, head teacher, said “Initially, teachers would use the room dividers to try and carve up the space, but it didn’t take long for them to get used to the construction and now what the teachers do a lot of is team teaching. It doesn’t mean that under the new setup that children never get distracted, but by and large they are engrossed by the lessons and they keep focus.”

Mr Wigley added that: “When I think about what employers are asking for – creativity, the ability to solve problems, work with others and collaborate – our children are all able to do that when they leave here and go on to secondary school.”

However, there are mixed feelings about this new layout. A recent news article found that some parents feel that “it is bound to lead to distractions.”

Many offices in the UK are open plan and have proven to support communication between departments. By exposing children to an open plan environment it teaches them the importance of collaboration and how ideas can be shared and developed with their peers to set them for their career development and life long learning. However, even with this open plan change reported as working well for Clifton with Rawclilffe Primary School by the head teacher, will other schools follow suit?