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PRESS RELEASE : Smarter Spaces Competition

1st July 2017

Worthing School Shortlisted for Smarter Spaces Transformation To Revitalise its Hall

-           St Mary’s Catholic Primary School needs your help to win much-needed £10,000 colour and design makeover in national competition with Dulux

-          Initiative promotes learner-led design to engage children in the classroom

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Worthing has beaten off competition from across the country to be shortlisted in a national contest to win £10,000 worth of colour and design services to transform its school hall, which is in desperate need of rejuvenation.

St Mary’s school hall is a central hub of school life used for assemblies, physical activities, drama, break-out groups, dining, PTA events and more. It hasn’t, however, seen a lick of paint for at least 15 years and more than two headteachers have since been and gone. It is now battered and bruised, very old fashioned, uninspiring and desperately in need of an uplift.

The school is now calling on the local community to help them win a national competition for a  transformation, which they believe will raise the children’s and staff’s spirits and therefore impact on their mood and expectations leading to improvements in teaching, learning and standards and, importantly, their pleasure at being in our school.

The competition is being run in association with Dulux Smarter Spaces, an initiative which promotes the concept of ‘learner-led design’ and the effective use of colour and design in schools. The aim is to encourage pupils to be actively involved in the decoration planning process, with the belief that by designing their own learning spaces children are more likely to be more engaged in the classroom.

Executive Headteacher, Mr Carter, said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Dulux Smarter Spaces campaign where, with the help of parents, friends and family, we hope to be successful in being awarded £10,000 to transform our school hall. The link between the learning environment and outcomes for children is well documented and evidenced.  It is so important that children feel loved and nurtured, and this includes investing in the places they spend some of their most memorable time. It becomes a visible sign that we care and that they are looked after. The school hall at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is desperately in need of repair and repainting, but when finances have been so tight, it has been difficult to transform it into the space it has the potential to become. We ask the public to get behind the campaign and vote for our project.”

Recent research carried out to mark the launch of the Dulux Smarter Spaces initiative showed that an overwhelming majority of teachers and head teachers consider the school environment to affect pupils’ academic life. Nearly 40% said a neglected environment such as a classroom affected learning, with 28% claiming it can have a negative effect on behaviour and a fifth (20%) believing attendance is affected.

Wider evidence overwhelmingly suggests that optimised classroom design and redecoration, based on the use of specific colours, has a tremendous impact on student and teacher experiences, improving cognitive development, wellbeing and attainment. A study by the University of Salford showed that differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms explained 16% of the variation in learning progression, with colour itself accounting for 12% of that[1].

Led by Matthew Burton, of Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire who is now Assistant Head Teacher at Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury, the competition will see one primary school and one secondary school each win the enormous prize to help revitalise their learning environments.

Matthew Burton comments: “My years as a teacher have taught me how important the aesthetics of a school are in inspiring learning in the classroom. I’ve seen first-hand the effects that school environments can have both on the part of the pupils and the teachers - the way a classroom and a school looks can have a huge impact.”

Schools around the country were invited to submit a 300-word entry explaining why they would be most deserving of a £10,000 transformation provided by Dulux Smarter Spaces. Just six primary schools are now in the running.

Entries will be open to a public vote until Friday 8th September, when a panel of judges, including Matthew Burton, Professor Stephen Heppell, a pioneer of global education projects, and colour and design experts from Dulux, will decide upon the two deserving winning schools according to set criteria.

To help your local school win, please visit www.schoolofdreams.co.uk and vote for St Mary’s Catholic Primary School’s entry.

For further information on Dulux Smarter Spaces, please visit www.duluxsmarterspaces.co.uk


For media enquiries, please contact Lucre at Duluxtrade@lucre.co.uk

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Contact: Harriet Ball



AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. We supply industries and consumers worldwide with innovative products and are passionate about developing sustainable answers for our customers. Our portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International and Eka. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we are consistently ranked as one of the leaders in the area of sustainability. With operations in more than 80 countries, our 50,000 people around the world are committed to delivering leading products and technologies to meet the growing demands of our fast-changing world.



[1] Clever Classrooms, Summary report of the HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design), Professor Peter Barrett, Dr Yufan Zhang, Dr Fay Davies, Dr Lucinda Barrett, 2015