Schools, academies, colleges and universities across the UK are heavily dependent on technology today.
Whilst the majority of technological investment within educational establishments justifiably tend to be focussed on using and accessing the internet to improve learning, development and the overall student experience, the use of technology to improve the safety and design of the facilities should be equally important.
Let’s look at accessibility for example.
“In addition to legal requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 (DDA), educational establishments typically consider and include items such as ramps, rails, lowered reception or office areas and /or specific fitness equipment to improve the overall accessibility within the educational environment,” according to Philip Lawrence, Managing Director at Garran Lockers.
However, when it comes to changing rooms or facilities, in addition to accessible toilets, it is worth considering how lockers can be integrated to maximise both usage and access.
Mr Lawrence explained: “Following enquiries from a number of existing and new clients, Garran Lockers developed a range of lockers in partnership with the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) specifically to help education providers meet the legal obligations under the DDA.”
Known as the Equalizer Locker, the locker design incorporates a number of specific features and benefits including a raised plinth and bridge design for wheelchair access, large tactile numbers in contrasting colours to aid visually impaired users, large handles to make opening and closing the lockers easier, etc.
Aesthetic design plays an important role in the overall user experience.
For example, research undertaken by the University of Salford recently shows that well-designed classrooms can boost learning progress in primary school pupils.
The ‘Clever Classrooms’ report shows how differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms can increase the learning progress of primary school pupils by as much as 16% in a single year.
“Whilst lockers are often located in changing rooms, there is no reason why they should not form part of the classroom design and usage. With a huge range of colours and finishes available, there really is no reason why lockers should be ‘invisible’”, added Mr Lawrence.
As well as the significant body of evidence around the positive effects colour can have on enhancing learning and emotional wellbeing, good design principles include everything from design to improve privacy to maximising security.
Garran Lockers’ Z locker, for example, is ideal for when space is at a premium.
Having worked with over 500 primary and secondary schools, many higher education colleges and universities, Garran Lockers’ bespoke design and manufacturing capability means educational establishments are able to secure the specific storage solutions that enable them to meet their exact needs.
Garran Lockers continually invests in incorporating the latest technological developments from smart payment locks to antibacterial coatings from its newly commissioned finishing plant.
Existing features include an integrated sloping top as a standard part of the unit whilst all steel lockers are spot welded together.
Lockers have vented doors to aid air circulation and the doors are fully stiffened to close against a 10mm flattened and safety edged doorstops on each side.
When considering the establishment’s specific security requirements, Garran Lockers is able to offer a number of options from standard steel lockers to its tough Titan range.
This includes a range of lockers with Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) doors fitted to a steel carcass with a bolt through super-coated hinge in.
Garran Lockers’ Titan and Titan Plus lockers are more robust and can help eliminate the damage that can often happen when lockers are badly used.
These lockers are ideal for schools, colleges, or any area where there is heavy usage or where damage may be a re-occurring problem.
A range of locking options are available from camlocks fitted with two keys to coin/ token return locks to combination or electrical locks.
When it comes to the use of colour within the learning environment, function ought to reign over aesthetics every time, explained Mr Lawrence.
“Large amounts of bright colours, especially reds and oranges for example, have been shown by several studies to have the potential to cause over-stimulation whilst colours such and blue and green tend to have a largely calming effect.”
Garran Lockers offers a choice of colours and finishes with locker doors available in everything from standard steel to laminate coatings to specifically branded lockers.
What the Education Sector had to say
"We are delighted with the lockers and we were very happy with the easy way in which we were able to contact you, discuss our needs and the excellent installation. We would be delighted to recommend you to other schools" - Llunos Roch, Alderman Davis CiW Primary School.