Attracting students to sixth form using design
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Attracting students to sixth form using design

08 January 2020 By Alexandra Wainwright - Furniture and Design Project Manager at YPO

bright study area in a school

For each student choosing to attend a sixth form the school receives funding, so schools need to encourage interest amongst students in this progression, but how do you compete with a college?

Funding in schools has decreased over the years, causing problems throughout all aspects of education. This cut has especially affected sixth forms, with an estimated funding drop of 26% in the period from 2010/11 - 2018/19. 

Colleges offer students a different experience compared to sixth forms, with a wider range of courses, modern facilities and a more informal environment. Sixth forms are still within the school grounds and offer a continuation of the school experience, usually with the same teachers and often the same classrooms involved.

Below is a selection of ideas on how to make your sixth form an inspiring place to attend:

1. Choose modern and contemporary furniture – Students who choose to stay on are often selecting an environment that is familiar to them, but they can still be swayed by a college’s modern facilities. Therefore, choose furniture that makes the sixth form stand out from the rest of the school. 

2. Introduce study booths – The introduction of study booths with contemporary fabrics are ideal for group and single study and can cancel out surrounding noise.

3. Look at classroom chairs – Choose a classroom chair that is different to the rest of the school, or even the same chair but incorporate a fabric seat pad or choose a different colour.

4. Dining facilities – Offer separate dining facilities to the rest of the school with seperate dining tables or a dining room with coffee shop style facilities is a great option. 

5. Have dedicated quiet study and social areas – These areas play a big part in sixth form experience. Social areas can be incorporated within the dining/café area and study areas can be located near computers.

6. Breakout areas – Breakout areas with high and low-level desking, and seating with high backs can help segregate areas and visually adds definition to a space.

7. Bring in colour and different styles without breaking the budget – If budgets are tight, why not choose reasonably priced products but select a mixture of styles and colours to be incorporated in one space? Or alternatively, keep the same furniture if the condition is good but add a few visually bright coloured pieces of furniture, such as brightly coloured upholstered stools, to mix in with existing single toned furniture.

8. Clever layouts – Clever layouts can really make a space come to life. Consideration can be made when placing furniture, i.e. low-level chairs placed in an arc formation or introducing curves and circles can help break up a large space. Regimented rectangular benches and stools can be placed along large corridors or small spaces.

Sixth form facilities offer an opportunity for generating extra income for a school. The social areas can be open for external exhibitions, conferences and local events, especially during the summer holidays. Sports facilities can be open for the public to use and hire. Lecture facilities can be utilised by external companies providing training and courses.


Find out more about YPO’s complete Furniture and Design Service and get in touch with the team.



Categories: Furniture , Education

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