Children at a Northumberland primary school are enjoying an exciting and colourful new learning experience with the opening of their brand new ‘Inspiration Suite’, designed and decorated by AkzoNobel.

The leading global paints and coatings company worked with pupils and staff at neighbouring Central Primary School in Ashington to design the suite where all-important STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects will be taught.

To help inspire the children to get creative with their designs, the pupils visited AkzoNobel’s new state-of-the-art plant in Ashington in the weeks leading up to the transformation to participate in a colour masterclass; where they created bright 3D canvases with guidance from instructors at the Dulux Academy training centre.

Officially opened by Ian Lavery MP, the newly decorated suite also includes the main hall, adjoining corridor and staircase and is the culmination of a four-month long project delivered by AkzoNobel as part of its Dulux Smarter Spaces initiative and commitment to ‘bring colour to people’s lives’.

Dulux Smarter Spaces aims to improve teaching and learning environments through thoughtful and inclusive design. This is a collaborative process during which AkzoNobel works with teachers and children to create spaces that are inspiring and beautiful for everyone who uses them.

Staff from AkzoNobel visited the school to deliver a workshop to get the children thinking about what colour means to them, which colours they find inspiring and the way different colours make them feel. The pupils were then invited to AkzoNobel Ashington to participate in a colour course as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Site support coordinator at AkzoNobel Ashington, Jill Johnston, said:

“On our first visit to Central Primary School as part of this new project, we asked the children to show us around the school so we could see where they spend time together doing activities and where they are taught STEM subjects.

“We then invited a group of pupils along to the Dulux Academy inside the factory to allow them to engage with colours through different activities to help them develop their ideas for the Inspiration Suite through a half-day, interactive colour course.

“During the visit, the pupils explored how we see colours, how different colours can encourage different emotions, how colour changes and why certain colours have certain uses, for example the use of the colour red to make things appear in 3D.

“At the end of the course, we asked the pupils to work in groups to create mood boards which we then sent off to the Dulux Colour Studio team to distill into a colour palette which we could use to decorate the school’s new STEM suite, the adjacent corridor and staircase and the main school hall.”

A team of decorators were dispatched to the school during the Easter holidays to carry out the transformative paintwork.

Dulux UK and Ireland creative director at AkzoNobel, Marianne Shillingford, said:

“The most important thing to remember when enhancing a school environment is to create something beautiful and high-impact that both the teachers and the pupils will enjoy, but that will also be easy to maintain.

“Using the children’s mood boards as a foundation, the colour palette that we distilled for Central Primary School uses a range of colours varying from forest greens and azure blues to fiery oranges and deep violets to create a stimulating environment which is both functional yet playful.

“The energising colours embody the children’s thoughts on positivity and help to modernise the spaces beautifully. The finished result is truly spectacular!”

Executive principal at Central Primary School, Andy Roberts, added:

“We’re absolutely delighted with the work that AkzoNobel has done to freshen up our school and make it inspiring for the kids.

“At Central Primary School, we are passionate about STEM. One of the many ways we promote this throughout the school is by partnering with local businesses operating in STEM sectors to deliver creative projects which engage the children, but also teach them valuable skills which they can transfer into their other subjects.

“The new Inspiration Suite, school hall and the colourful staircase and corridor are an asset to the school and on behalf of all of the staff and pupils, I’d like to thank AkzoNobel for their hard work and generosity.”

Best known for its Dulux, Hammerite and Polycell brands, AkzoNobel is the world’s leading producer of decorative paints and coatings.

For more information, visit www.akzonobel.com.