Founded by Innovation Unit, School Design Lab is a non-profit, mission-led enterprise that is committed to designing extraordinary learning.


At School Design Lab, we help to design schools with extraordinary learning at their heart.

We believe that...

Every child can achieve excellence and success. Now and in the future. 

The world has changed but schools haven't. 

And school just isn't working for enough young people.

Education systems around the world need: 

extraordinary learning + new ways of demonstrating success put at the heart of new school designs.

But it isn't just about new schools. 

It's about redesigning the schools we have so they can make extraordinary learning real.


By doing design work in six stages...

ONE / Create design teams

  • e.g. a core team with energy ('spark and bottle') and power (decision-makers, funders), a parallel student/learner design team made up of current and past students 

TWO / Set up a local lab - to get the work done 

  • e.g. 'School Design Lab York' - made up of the two local design teams, plus experts from School Design Lab 'central'

THREE / Enter 'insight and immersion' - learn loads of stuff

  • run in two parallel parts, with activities for the design team and involving key stakeholders
    • Immersion part 1: look near
      • understand local need and capacity
      • assess current assets and impact
      • real listening with students and parents
    • Immersion part 2: look far
      • make sense of relevant trends
      • explore promising practice from around the world
      • engage with cutting edge research

FOUR / Pin down the vision - something that everyone can get behind, that will drive the design

FIVE / Create the blueprint - set out the core elements of the new design

SIX / Add the detail - bring in experts to work on: 

  • enabling technology
  • resources and capacity
  • curriculum design
  • new forms of assessment
  • spaces for extraordinary learning