Displays can be powerful tools to:

  • Extend learning spaces in order to maximise learning
  • Show industry standards and expectations to influence learners’ personal AND professional development
  • Celebrate success in order to increase expectations
  • Showcase future possibilities in order to raise aspirations
  • Highlight diversity in order to create an inclusive environment
  • Present relevant aspects of English and maths to further develop learners’ skills in these areas

Some questions

How are you…

  • Displaying, commenting upon and celebrating success?
  • Promoting work-related skills and industry standards/values?
  • Incorporating positive and aspirational role models and stories from diverse backgrounds?
  • Promoting other aspects of personal development, behaviour and welfare such as attendance and punctuality leaderboards, British values and expected behaviours?
  • Developing learners’ English vocabulary and maths skills?
  • Creating interactive displays or ones students can contribute to?
  • Developing areas of your workshop/classroom that lead to greater organisation?
  • Creating a range of surfaces for learners to write and work on?
  • Displaying thought-provoking questions to promote reflection?
  • Promoting learning outside of class?
  • Incorporating technology into displays?

Do you have:

  • The old college marketing? Check with marketing and correct wherever this is required. 
  • Displays more than one year old? Set the students a challenge of showcasing their learning perhaps?
  • Torn paper/backing and damaged materials? Could students be used to help maintain boards? Make use of laminates and different kinds of display boards to prevent this.
  • Broken/damaged classroom furniture? Speak to estates staff to arrange for these to be replaced.
  • Clutter in classrooms? Make use of cupboard and staffroom space wherever possible.
  • Not labelling displays or indicating what their relevance is to the students? Add titles to boards and short descriptions to photographs to add context to what’s being displayed.
  • Spelling, punctuation or grammar mistakes? Ask a colleague or student to proofread your materials- there’s always something we miss!
  • Images from the internet that aren’t copyright free? Use Google Search and then select ‘search tools’, ‘usage rights’ and ‘labelled for reuse’ for replacement images.

Celebrating Success

This can be one of the most powerful ways in which you can raise the aspirations of your learners. So how can it be done and what success can you celebrate?

  • Display students’ work- have a gold award or a wall of fame.
  • Where have past students progressed to? What are they doing now?
  • Have a student of the month for each course or the department for conduct/commitment/achievement…
  • What enrichment activities, competitions or local community activities have students taken part in?
  • Have an attendance and punctuality leaderboard for each course- laminate slips of paper and then you can write on % and rub them off to update them each week.
  • Have a learning wall where students add what they’ve learned during the week/term on their courses.

TOP TIP: Give a small group of students responsibility for updating boards regularly (as part of a work experience commitment for instance).

Ideas to explore

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist, has written some great advice about classroom displays- from colours that work best together, to considerations of content, he’s got it covered…

Read Mark’s advice about creating classroom displays

These are some reasons that suggest why a classroom environment might contribute to the learning experience.

Why not buy some whiteboard paint and use it on the walls in your room? This can mean less work in re-doing boards and it’ll mean student work is always visible on the walls.

As sticky alternatives to pins, staples and blue tack, why not consider these? Velcro dots or Glue dots

There are ideas from other colleges here that showcase professional standards, respect, equality & diversity, English & maths and habits for learning:

The Sheffield College Good Practice

Take a look through the images that follow and be inspired by the great work going on around the college!  What will you take forward as an idea for your own classroom or corridor?


Having a ‘Meet the Team’ board in the corridor is a great way of introducing students to the staff and having some facts about each of them is even better for building rapport throughout the year (Jonathan Wathen’s Team at Hillsborough).

TOP TIP: Ensure these are printed as separate cards so that they can be more easily updated as your staff and their roles change.


Think of your department as a business that needs ‘branding’. Having a colour scheme and a uniformity to the boards is a great idea and these banners in the HE area (at Hillsborough campus) are really effective in achieving this- with each of the boards having a different title and therefore content to match.

TOP TIP: Take Marketing round your corridor to see what suggestions they might make!


Get some of your displays printed on more durable banner material so that they don’t become tatty if they’re to stand the test of time on a corridor board (Academic Studies at Hillsborough).


These stories and quotes from real students are fabulous for raising learners’ aspirations and providing them with inspiration for the potential futures that await them (HE Area at Hillsborough). This kind of frame is also great for keeping a display remaining professional and neat- why not collate a few as part of a larger display?

TOP TIP: Take Marketing round your corridor to see what suggestions they might make!


This board, although currently in the process of being dismounted in time for a new team of students (Prince’s Trust- James Dawson- Hillsborough) arriving, is a great example of how students can generate a display as part of their learning- they make it their own and therefore take ownership for the space far more.


The display of student work in this space (Media- Emma Ireland- Hillsborough) shows incredible creativity for how an environment can be used to best effect- with posters and projects hung from the ceiling. It’s a real celebration and showcase of students’ success in learning.


This display of work highlights the work students have been doing to develop their employability skills and there are a number of employer quotes as feedback for this great work (Foundation Studies- Hillsborough).

TOP TIP: Including photographs of students as part of displays is a great way of engaging the learners and encouraging them to feel proud of their work and learning.


This display was spotted in the foundation corridor at Hillsborough by Jonny Wathen and effectively demonstrates, to students, the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


An artist from Vienna has been working with students to create a welcome mural, representing the communities at Fir Vale. This mural works to strengthen the sense of community as well as encouraging the learners to value respect and tolerance.

The above displays were spotted in Alison’s classroom and the Hospitality and Travel and Tourism corridors. The staff have celebrated student success in order to raise the aspirations of learners (there’s a great deal to celebrate and it’s all up-to-date), they have incorporated industry expectations and standards into all spaces and everything is professionally displayed- not a tatty board in sight!

TOP TIP: Visit the CG corridor and classroom CG09 at City as soon as you can!


One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s