Playforce Joins Smarter Spaces Campaign

25 May 2016


Playforce has joined forces with fellow partner, Twinkl, well-known paint brand Dulux and a host of learners, researchers and collaborators as part of the Smarter Spaces campaign.


As part of the campaign, schools can win £5,000 of design and decoration services to help transform their schools with the launch of the campaign's Young Designers Competition.

The Young Designers Competition offers pupils an opportunity to unlock their creative thinking by submitting a design to transform a space in their school – allowing pupils to take responsibility for their own learning environments by engaging them in the design process. This is a real change from traditional school design which tends to be led by senior leaders who do not use learning environments regularly and may not fully understand the challenges they present. 

Budding young designers are being encouraged to apply in groups by putting together their own creative presentation detailing the area in their school that would really benefit from a makeover, how they would like it to look and why. Students can make their designs as creative or as functional as they like. What matters is that they create a learning environment that works for them and their school. The judges are looking for quality not quantity and pupils could spend as little as two hours on their entry, or even choose to make the presentation into a whole school project. 

The competition has been launched as part of the Smarter Spaces campaign which – in partnership with some of the UK’s leading teachers, heads, designers and policymakers – aims to grow understanding of the physical factors that can support education while inspiring and supporting schools across the country to improve their learning environments – be it through small tweaks or major overhauls.

Speaking about winning the 2015 Young Designers Competition, Hannah Gregson, Teacher at Springfield Primary School, said:
“The 2015 Young Designers Competition was a really good opportunity for the children to literally make their mark on the school. They took photos of areas around school that they thought would benefit from a make-over then came up with a lot of ideas about how they would improve them. 

“The Young Designers Competition has been a fantastic experience for all involved and has really helped the children have a voice in school improvement as well as making them take ownership over their school. It is an experience we would recommend to anyone.”

Speaking about the campaign and competition, Matt Pullen, Managing Director of Dulux, said:
“I’m thrilled to announce the 2016 Young Designers Competition. For the second year running, this will give two schools – one primary and one secondary – a rare opportunity to transform their learning environment for the better, inspiring and empowering pupils to make their design dreams come true by allowing them to have their say in how their classrooms look and feel.”

“Dulux has always been passionate about colour and design, and the tremendous impact it can have on people’s lives. Teachers have told us that the physical environment can have a huge impact on both learning and teaching. That’s why we launched the Smarter Spaces campaign and Young Designers Competition last year and are now looking for even more amazing entries in 2016.”

Entries will be judged by the Smarter Spaces Learner Teacher Council who will choose a primary and secondary entry to become a reality. The closing date for entries to the 2016 Young Designers Competition is Friday 27 May 2016, with the winning two schools announced by 6 June 2016. For more details on the Smarter Spaces campaign and the competition, including full details on how to apply, visit

About the Smarter Spaces campaign 

The Smarter Spaces campaign was launched last year to grow understanding of the current condition of learning environments and the physical factors that can support education. Beginning at a regional level, we have listened to those who have transformed their learning environments and truly believe in the value of creating Smarter Spaces in their schools. 

Our mission is to help learners and teachers thrive through the power of their school environment by enabling:
Schools to design their environments to support better learning and teaching.
Learners and teachers to be involved in design, so they take more pride in their school
The school environment to be made part of teacher training, so its role becomes embedded in the profession.
The community – including small businesses and charities – to be involved in design projects, so more people have a stake in their local school.
The school environment to be introduced into school assessments, so it becomes a key indicator of excellence.
Schools to share their experiences, so they forge a culture of partnership and ever-improving environments.

To do this we will:
Encourage learners and teachers to take an active role in design, so they’re invested in and proud of their schools.
Pool existing research and commission our own, so we expand knowledge of school design in the teaching profession.
Work with the education community and government to raise the profile of design in education and campaign for more investment to support it.
Develop the best ways for schools to improve their environments with experts at Dulux.

Over the past year the campaign has grown into a coalition of influential figures who are collectively committed to the campaign, including Janet Hayward OBE, the Schools Network, Teach First and CBI to name a few. 

Over the coming year, we will be working to grow understanding of Smarter Spaces further while inspiring and supporting schools across the country to make the change – be it through small tweaks or major overhauls. Follow our progress on Twitter via @smarterspaces16

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