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Ongoing project

Optimising green spaces in high-needs schools (GC22008)

Key research provider: Deakin University

What is it all about?

This research is exploring the process, challenges and impacts of creating innovative indoor and outdoor green spaces at primary years high-needs and mainstream schools.


High-needs schools focus on vulnerable communities and are an over-looked setting where children spend a significant proportion of their time.


The research team will:

  • Examine the impacts of indoor and outdoor greening (e.g., sensory gardens, nature play areas) in primary years high-needs and mainstream schools on physical activity, social interaction, wellbeing, and school enjoyment among students and staff, and job satisfaction and staff retention among staff.

  • Prepare and provide tools to facilitate implementation of green spaces in high-needs and mainstream schools and provide new knowledge on the challenges, considerations, and pathways to adoption.

  • Develop clear, evidence-based recommendations to optimise green spaces for high-needs and mainstream schools with links to broader policy change.


The findings from this research will help to support advocacy and practice, inform decision making by educational organisations and  lead to growth of the horticultural industry. Importantly, the findings will also have implications for the education sector more broadly, including benefits to students with special needs attending mainstream schools.