Skip to main content

Language: English / Gàidhlig


Seòmar agus comataidhean

Impact of Open-plan Classrooms on Primary School Pupils

  • Submitted by: Kenneth Gibson, Cunninghame North, Scottish National Party.
  • Date lodged: Tuesday, 21 November 2023
  • Motion reference: S6M-11301
  • Current status: Has not yet achieved cross-party support

That the Parliament notes concerns regarding the widespread use of open-plan classrooms in primary schools across Scotland, including in the Cunninghame North constituency; understands that the heightened noise levels and lack of acoustic privacy can overstimulate children and diminish classroom learning, increasing both the likelihood of pupils disengaging and the pressure placed on teachers; further understands that open-plan classrooms can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of pupils, particularly those with additional support needs, which can negatively impact their education, particularly when focusing on independent tasks, due to both auditory and visual distractions posed in the setting; acknowledges the University of Melbourne’s study, The effect of classroom environment on literacy development, which found that noise levels were significantly higher in open-plan classrooms, increasing by an average of 5.4 decibels compared with enclosed classrooms, leading to a decline in classroom speech intelligibility of around 10 to 15%, whilst the reading fluency of primary school pupils in open-plan classrooms was half that of pupils taught in enclosed classrooms, and notes the calls for the Scottish Government to work with local authorities and COSLA to ensure that no further open-plan classrooms are built into new primary schools, while also working to replace open-plan classrooms with enclosed ones, which, it believes, will better enable children to thrive in an educational environment that is more conducive to learning.

Supported by: Karen Adam, Colin Beattie, Bill Kidd, Rona Mackay, David Torrance, Evelyn Tweed