School Design Guidance and Checklist

This design guidance is focused on buildings intended for public use although the primary focus is education. This guidance seeks to ensure the appropriate design of buildings which addresses the development context and environmental constraints of the site while encouraging health and wellbeing principles are applied to the development including features to support sustainable accessibility across all user groups.

The guide relies upon a careful location appraisal and building typology in Essex and provides a range of solutions relative to different context scenarios.

Key Messages

  • Schools should be designed to prioritise pupil safety in a well-designed and appealing learning environment.
  • Active design principles should be imbedded within the school building and around the site including play, social and entrance space.
  • New schools should prioritise sustainable travel with a focus on road safety, parking/drop off zones for parents, infrastructure such as scooter/cycle parking.
  • School sites should be designed to maximise opportunities for environmental sustainability.
  • Schools should explore opportunities for wider communities use, engagement and interactions to maximise the site and facilities.

Key Questions

  • Does the school design create a quality teaching environment that inspires all its users?
  • Does the school promote active travel access and travel plan proposals?
  • Has the proposals considered safety/security both within the school site and road safety measures around the school?
  • How has environmental sustainability (including air quality) been addressed?
  • Does the area have access to healthier food opportunities on and around the site including food growth and food environments in the school building i.e. dining hall spaces, outdoor spaces?
  • Does the site include any community use? How has this been integrated?
  • How do the proposals address suitable solutions for parking/drop off zones for parents?

Page updated: 11/09/2019

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