A SPECIAL school in Oldbury has beaten off competition from across the country to be shortlisted in a national competition to transform its school corridors.

The Orchard School, which caters to students with a range of learning difficulties, wants to implement a pupil-led redesign to include more colour and tactile objects to aid its students’ navigation around the school corridors.

Being run in association with Dulux Smarter Spaces, the competition will see the winner awarded with £10,000 worth of colour and design services.

Headteacher Diane Ellingham said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted in the final six schools for the Dulux Competition.

“The children that attend The Orchard are all wonderfully inspiring and despite their complex and profound learning difficulties, they continually amaze the staff at the school and their families with their determination, positive attitudes and strength of character.

“Colourful, bright imaginative spaces are so important to all children in motivating them in engaging in their learning and development.

“Therefore, we aspire to enrich the whole learning environment within our school and showcase the inspirational talents of our pupils through a display of powerful colourful images capturing those ‘wow’ moments which are such precious events in a child’s development.”

The smarter spaces initiative is promoting the concept of ‘learner-led design’ and the effective use of colour and design in schools.

The aim is to encourage pupils to be actively involved in the decoration planning process, with the belief that by designing their own learning spaces children are likely to be more engaged in the classroom.

The competition will see one primary school and one secondary school each win the enormous prize to help revitalise their learning environments.

To vote for The Orchard School, before the closing date of Friday, September 8, visit www.schoolofdreams.co.uk.

Scheme leader Matthew Burton, of Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire, added: “My years as a teacher have taught me how important the aesthetics of a school are in inspiring learning in the classroom.

“I’ve seen first-hand the effects that school environments can have both on the part of the pupils and the teachers - the way a classroom and a school looks can have a huge impact.”