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Challenge of school's growing roll creates opportunities.

Silverdale Primary is a thriving school that was in desperate need of more space to accommodate a growing roll. Three years ago, the school implemented their first modern learning environment to support their student-centred philosophy in teaching and learning. With a recent new-build addition, Furnware had the exciting opportunity to collaborate again with Principal Cameron Lockie and his teaching team.

The old classrooms were drab and grey.

In 2015 Silverdale Primary transformed classrooms full of what what Team Teacher Woody Riley describes as, "drab" grey desks and chairs into bright and colourful, flexible learning spaces. Principal Cameron Lockie explains how the exciting new environments enabled "purposeful collaboration between students, autonomy and independence with a opportunity for a range of learning tasks happening within the open classrooms - where children could choose what learning they wanted to engage in". 

The Base Mod Couch are a favourite amongst students.

The entire school was thrilled with the new learning environments. Indeed, these have led to fresh inspiration for team teaching, as teacher Woodie Riley observes of his team’s experience: “We are continually reflecting on, and developing our environment, our practice and the learning experiences of our students in creative and innovative ways.”  Students were engaged with their new spaces from the beginning, as they helped select the furniture through research, justifying the value each item would bring into their classroom.


“There’s not one kind of model that fits the whole school, it’s really looking at the children, looking at the teachers, and coming up with a way to be able to be collaborative in that space.”

Cameron Lockie – Principal at Silverdale Primary School

Teachers chose furniture that best suits their teaching and learning.

Fast forward to 2018 and Silverdale Primary School’s roll is rapidly heading towards 700 students, requiring the construction of a new two-storey, four-room building for Years 5 and 6 and Years 3 and 4. With four years’ experience in ILEs, there is a deep understanding amongst students and teachers about what works in the design of new learning environments. As Principal Cameron Lockie explains, “it’s about teachers choosing what furniture best suits them, because different teachers have different teaching styles that require different furniture. The school used what they purchased in 2015 as a benchmark. “We did have some other furniture from other companies, but they haven’t really lasted the time like Furnware furniture did,” says Cameron.

Desk or floor: the new classroom furniture affords students options for where and how they learn best.

The colourful, creative yet functional theme has continued through to the new spaces.  Cameron worked closely with Furnware to choose furniture to accommodate a variety of teaching and learning approaches, including whiteboard tables to encourage collaboration, standing height work-surfaces, low-down arrangements where students can lie on the floor should they choose, plus areas where students can work quietly and independently. “They’re used to the fact they can just find a spot,” he says, which will vary “depending on what they’re doing.” Students have ownership over their learning space and it’s not uncommon to find the furniture being used in unique ways as the students reconfigure their space for how they best learn.

“The room environment is always changing, depending on what’s going on at the time, so that’s something that I like about it as well.”

Cameron Lockie – Principal at Silverdale Primary School

Students have ownership and a deep understanding of their learning environments.

Silverdale Primary’s new spaces get a big ‘thumbs up’ from both teachers and students alike, and Cameron couldn’t be happier. “It’s so big and roomy. When you take people around for a look, they’re quite surprised that there’s 60 kids and two teachers because it just seems to be humming away, which is nice because our pedagogy, in terms of our teaching practice and teachers, hasn’t really changed – we’ve always been that sort of way in the classroom, but now we have the space as well. The teachers and kids just love being in those spaces.”

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