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News - September/October 2019

Primary turns its back on primary colours in bid to calm pupils

Primary turns its back on primary colours in bid to calm pupils

A primary school in Leicestershire has thrown out its bright plastic furniture and replaced it with plain wooden tables and chairs in a bid to help pupils focus.

In a story first covered by the BBC, Overdale Infant School in Knighton, Leicestershire said it had decided to make the change because pupils felt “overloaded” by bright, garish colours.

The school told the BBC that it believes the new decor, which it describes as like “grandma’s living room”, will improve behaviour.

Headteacher Hayley Holmes said the school had trialled duller colours like brown and beige last year, and it had a positive impact on pupils’ behaviour.She said: “Children and adults have none of that sensory overload and can feel really calm here. Some of the children felt overloaded and found the classroom to be a really difficult place to be in.So we’re reducing that sensory overload and we’re encouraging the children and giving them time to develop.”

Karen Haller, an expert of applied colour psychology, who was interviewed by the BBC, said colours were processed by the brain in the hypothalmus. She added: “When we take in colour we have an emotional reaction. Colour that’s stimulating - like red - turns the emotional dial up. When you put in colours that are low in saturation, you’re turning the emotional dial down. You can have a more calming, more restful environment.”

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