10 criteria for successful school design

As a design proposal develops, it is important to test it - against the specific brief for the project and against some universal principles of good school design.

Reviewing emerging proposals using people with experience of different types of school design, and who have different specialisms in the built environment and education, can improve designs before it is too late to do so. Using people outside of the project team helps gain an objective view on the proposed design.

The following criteria provide a framework for reviewing design proposals for school renewal projects. 

  1. Identity and context: making a school the students and community can be proud of
  2. Site plan: making the best use of the site
  3. School grounds: making assets of the outdoor spaces
  4. Organisation: creating a clear diagram for the buildings
  5. Buildings: making form, massing and appearance work together
  6. Interiors: creating excellent spaces for learning and teaching
  7. Resources: deploying convincing environmental strategies
  8. Feeling safe: creating a secure and welcoming place
  9. Long life, loose fit: creating a school that can adapt and evolve in the future
  10. Successful whole: making a design that works in the round.