Flexible rooms for future learning

Neil Miller from QIC Trims looks at how the flexibility needed in modern education environments can be achieved by specifying glass partitions, meaning that teachers can be relieved of the need to alter the contents of a space

A glass partition’s ability to transform a room without altering its fabric or fixtures and fittings makes it ideal for schools where interior designs are regularly reconfigured in order to suit particular classes or events.

By allowing such a fluid approach to the reimagining of learning spaces, alterations can be carried out rapidly and cost-effectively. This is a highly important outcome for educational settings, where budgets are often tight and every penny has to be accounted for.

Sight & sound transmission

Glass partitions allow more privacy, bearing in mind that concentration levels have to be at their highest during study time. However at the same time their transparency avoids alienating students from their surrounding environment.

At all other times glass partitions help maintain clear lines of communication. The learning process is severely impacted by tutors not being able to make themselves sufficiently heard or understood due to exterior noise interference. It could also create a safety issue. Therefore, good acoustic performance should be given high priority in glass partition selection. A quality fixed single or double-glazed system will provide up to 50% noise reduction, thus screening-out disruptive airborne sounds and allowing students to fully focus on the learning activities at hand.

In a recent project, double-glazed partitions featuring mullions and transoms with external face-applied bars were installed throughout four floors of a school library. The system was specified due to the acoustic rating it was able to achieve using 12.8 mm x 12.8 mm acoustic laminated glass, a drop-down seal on the framed glass doors, and a +/- 25 mm deflection head.

Inspiring glass partitions

The project revealed another advantage of installing glazed partitions in educational settings, namely the aesthetic they lend to spaces. It’s often said that people are a product of their environment. Therefore, if places of learning present a smart, professional look courtesy of a well-appointed glass partition scheme, it’s more likely students that will respond accordingly.

The additional natural daylight afforded by partitions provides another boost for occupant wellbeing. In research carried out in the U.S by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University, the study revealed a significant drop in incidence of eyestrain, headaches and drowsiness in workers in offices which are filled with natural daylight. Transpose these findings to a learning environment, and it becomes clear how similar conditions could benefit students in terms of mood and concentration levels.

Although not a ‘headline’ consideration, when specifying glass partitions for schools, it’s worth remembering that they can be lively places when catering for hundreds of students of different age groups. This means that glass partitions in classrooms, even where occupants are seated for the majority of the time, should be specified for a certain level of robustness. As part of this, for the safety of students and the integrity of the structure itself, investing in a glass partition that meets up to date standards for loadings
is essential.


Although there are a number of standout reasons for specifying glass partitions for schools, they are available to suit a wide range of needs in terms of cost, design and performance. Available in either straight lined or faceted forms, single and double-glazed systems offer a practical and innovative solution for the smart and discreet division of interior space.

Neil Miller is sales and marketing director at QIC Trims