Derby high, loving their science labs

How did Derby High put the LOVE back into their science labs!

Derby High School is a state  school conveniently situated on the outskirts of Bury. The school strives for high academic achievement but also encourages their students to look beyond the classroom by taking part in a range of activities outside the school, at home and abroad.

In 2012 as part of their refurbishment programme, Derby High started their journey to refurbish their science labs.   However it wasn’t until 2016 their perseverance paid off, when they secured funding from the Ogden Trust, the Wolfson Foundation, Curious Minds and Bury Council.

With the funding secured, Derby High set out to find the right suppliers to convert their Laboratories into state-of-the art facilities.

In 2017, Innova was invited to pitch in a competitive tender process along side eight other companies. Following the process, we were delighted to secure the furniture installation of the Labs and looked forward to transforming the interiors to exceed the school’s aspirations.

Working in Partnership with the contractor –Paul Smith and Co, the traditional laboratories, were transformed into inspirational, flexible, multi-functional learning environments using Innova’s Hot corner design.

More recently Derby High’s suite of science labs, “DISCOVER”, were officially opened by Sir Peter Ogden, Mayor of Bury Council Dorothy Gunther, and many others involved in the project including students and the winner of last year’s Ogden prize for Physics, year 11 pupil Zidan Khan.

The new cutting-edge facilities ensure Science is used to raise aspirations, as well as motivate and encourage students to reach their full potential.

Mr Paul Kerr Director of Science and a former enthused:

“I was so pleased when Sir Peter agreed to come and open Discover. The Ogden Trust are a long standing partner of ours. The Trust has supported us through a Secondary Science Partnership, a Primary Science Partnership, The Ogden Fellowship Programme and The Teach Physics Internship where we are one of the most successful schools in the country at converting undergraduate Physics students into the Physics teachers of tomorrow.”

Re-igniting the love in your Laboratories

A study conducted by the University of Salford found that improving classroom design can boost a pupil’s performance by up to 25 per cent, and even simple changes to layouts can have a huge impact on student conduct and academic achievement.

Relight more than just Bunsen burners in your laboratory this year; create an inspiring learning environment with Innova’s Unique Hot Corner Design.

The Hot corner layout provides a flexible learning environment which addresses the need to provide both a theory classroom and practical laboratory within the same space.

When creating the perfect laboratory for your student’s be mindful of the key design aspects:

  • Lines of communication – Having clear lines of dialogue between teachers and students in a lab is extremely important, when conducting practicals.

The Hot corner design relocates the teacher to the ‘long wall’ shortening lines of communication, improving classroom management.  With all students facing the teacher it provides and a more collaborative approach to learning.

Derby High School Hot Corners
Derby high school recently refurbished their Physics Labs with the “Hot Corner “Layout

  • Clear the desks – They say a tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind, and it’s certainly easier to concentrate on the task in hand if your workspace is free of distractions.

Intelligent storage can provide seemingly unthinkable solutions in even the most constrained of spaces, so, it is essential that it is built into the specification.

The simple addition of under desk storage and integrated cupboards plus pigeon hole units to store coats and bags all help to minimise clutter.

Innova’s teacher wall hides away resources such as interactive screens and power cables, seamlessly. It also incorporates sliding write on whiteboards that can be used alongside interactive white boards with ease.

This multi-purpose storage system is custom made in Innova’s in-house manufacturing facility to fit any size and shape of classroom with storage options including shelving, gratnell trays, lockable cupboards, filing and base units.

The recently refurbished, Wolverhampton Grammar School science laboratory incorporates plenty of perimeter and under bench storage for equipment and glassware with the services located off the benching at the front of the units thus reducing distractions.

Wolverhamton Hot Corners

  • Flexibility in teaching and Learning – Boost pupil performance

Equipping the next generation of students to engage in the challenges that they’ll face in future society will not be met by a classroom that operates in isolation and conformity. Educating and inspiring students creatively requires a learning environment that can be flexible and collaborative, reflecting the way in which teachers relate to students and students relate to each other. This shift has already begun to reform the way we design the modern day classroom.

From practicals, discussions and teamwork, flipped to individual learning, can your laboratory accommodate different teaching styles for the 21st Century?

Shireland Hot Corners

Shireland Collegiate Academy, transformed their learning environment to boost pupil performance, take a look at our short video

Quote “When I saw the labs for the first time I couldn’t believe it was the same room!”

Changing the learning environment doesn’t just give you a fresh, modern interior to work in, according to Hardeep: “The biggest difference is in attitude: the new lab makes students want to study science – they really look forward to practical’s and some have even told me the improvement in facilities helped them make the decision to study science subjects when they moved from GCSE to A Level.


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