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Pastels make boys as good as gold

Got a behaviour problem? Call in the colour consultants and all will be well. The Park community school in Havant, Hampshire, has called in an "innovative design consultancy" and now the 870 pupils are as good as gold - or rather, teachers report, "children come into the classroom much calmer and more receptive."

Bob Carter, deputy head, stresses that repainting classrooms and corridors is just the latest stage in a "tremendous journey" the school has made since it was in special measures nine years ago. The proportion of pupils getting five A*-C grades at GCSE, for instance, has risen from 9 to 64 per cent.

"It's very difficult to say what has caused the most improvement," he says modestly.

Yes, yes, but what colours have worked the magic? The basic idea, he says, is to colour-code the different learning areas. Three out of the four walls in a classroom are a pastel shade, then a darker shade for the front wall, so that children focus on teacher and whiteboard.

Doors and architraves are in a contrasting colour, to keep the children stimulated.

Yes, but which colours? Well, science is blue with contrasting taupe (that's brownish grey to the design-challenged), humanities green with claret and technology pink (nice touch) with dark green. "It's calming but not so calming as to put the children to sleep," says Mr Carter. We should taupe not.

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