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Case Studies

A range of collaborators have taken on the HEAD findings since they were published and applied them into their own educational context. They have kindly agreed to share the following mini-case studies. It is hoped these will provide ideas for action for others.  If any other practitioners have a story to share, then please get in contact. The case studies below are:

Case Study 1: Early gains at Haberdashers

Case Study 2: Matched funding scheme in the Enquire Trust

Case Study 3: Inspiration in CEIP Benedicto Ruiz, Ajo, Cantabria

Case Study 4: HEAD infused design by IBI Architects 

Case Study 5: Building from Evidence in Hampshire County Council


Anchor 1

Case study 1: Early gains at Haberdashers

“Based on the pilot HEAD principles, the refurbishment of the senior school library sought to enhance the studying experience for the pupils: 

  • by capturing the maximum amount of natural light, 

  • providing stimulation in terms of colour and shapes and flexibility of use.   

  • echoing the curvilinear aspect of learning in the shape of the furniture and fittings 

The library is now a dynamic, vibrant and effective learning space which is well used and appreciated by boys and staff alike”.

Mr MLS Judd, Second Master, The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School

The pictures show before and after, whilst proof of this impact is provided by the library usage figures below, taken from before the changes compared with 2014/15 and after. 

Case study 2: Matched funding scheme in the Enquire Trust

Anchor 2

After a staff seminar by Prof Barrett, bids were called for in 2015 for £10k matched funding from Trust schools for environmental improvements in line with the research outlined in the HEAD Study. 14 were approved. Linden Road is one example.

Linden Road Academy, Denton, Manchester

  • Classrooms improved generally, but also ..

  • “Previously as you entered the main part of school, you were greeted with a number partitioned off areas and large stock cupboards.

  • This area was opened up to create a learning zone. This is now the hub of the school with whole class, small groups, 1:1 and free time activities. It also hosts the Library.

  • Students and staff were all involved in the planning and all love the changes” 


Fran Bradshaw, Vice Principal

Anchor 3

Case study 3: Inspiration in CEIP Benedicto Ruiz, Ajo, Cantabria

During 2015/16 Tara Sewell was working on a placement at the school and provided a link between the staff there and Prof Barrett.  The school had made various changes: see pictures for before and after images of the English classroom as an example. The staff summarised the changes and their impacts as follows:

  • “Our teaching practice emphasises active aspects and our spaces were changed to support this idea.

  • We realized that both our teaching approach and spaces can help to take into account the pupils’ individual rhythms and characteristics.

  • The children display increased autonomy, self-reliance, self-esteem, creativity and they socialize more flexibly as the new spaces allow them work in different type of groupings.

  • Through rebuilding spaces and using them differently we have used spaces never used before and created new learning experiences.”

Anchor 4

Case study 4: HEAD infused design by IBI Architects

IBI Architects were closely involved in the HEAD Project from the start, providing initial findings and leading the industry sounding board. As a result of this intimate knowledge of the findings they have: 

IBI Architects were closely involved in the HEAD Project from the start, providing initial findings and leading the industry sounding board. As a result of this intimate knowledge of the findings they have: 

  • Developed a Schools Assessment Toolkit, which has been used on a range of existing schools already to identify areas for improvement.

  • Worked up idealised classroom designs based on their experience as school designers and knowledge of the HEAD results.

  • Been engaged to design a new Primary / Secondary School in Cheadle Hulme, Manchester, taking the HEAD results fully into practice from the inception.  

Information provided by Carys Fisher, Studio Associate, IBI Group, Cardiff, +44 29 2044 8900, 

Case study 5: Building from evidence in Hampshire County Council

Anchor 5

Hampshire was one of three Local Authorities that provided access to their schools for the HEAD Study to take place. Based on the feedback they received and the general HEAD results, they have reported that two Key Actions were taken: 


  • Action 1

    • Presented Findings to Hampshire Schools Heads Conference

    • Outcome

    • Took away easily understood principles to applied everyday to existing primary school classrooms

  • Action 2 

    • Used key principles to help inform design of new schools

    • Outcome

    • Design proposals sense checked again key criteria and new schools designed and built accordingly

On new schools the HEAD findings infuse choices at all stages from: site layout, to the massing of the buildings, detailed layouts, specific design of spaces  

Bob Wallbridge, Strategic Manager, HCC Property Services, Hampshire County Council

The images below show the stages in the design process and some new schools recently built.

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