Designing science accommodation in schools – the science laboratory
This is a serviced, practical area for the teaching and learning of science. Other functions are better catered for in adjacent support and storage areas.
The chemicals, materials, equipment and services involved in science laboratories make them a ‘danger area’ under health and safety regulations. It is therefore essential that they are supervised by suitably qualified staff, are properly equipped for health and safety, and are not used for inappropriate activities. The same considerations apply to the prep room, the chemicals store, the radioactives store and some equipment stores.
Only equipment in frequent use should be stored in a laboratory; all other equipment and materials should have dedicated storage. Teachers’ marking and personal preparation are best provided for away from the laboratory. Most management activities are best accommodated in planned spaces, while social activities, eating and drinking should certainly be accommodated separately from the ‘danger areas’. A laboratory is not the most suitable place for a tutor-base.