Doors for schools, colleges and universities

When specifying doors for schools, colleges and universities, there are number of things to consider. In this email, we will explore what those considerations should be, and what the options are.

Legislation and guidelines for performance

In addition to the standard Building Regulations, the Department for Education has published a comprehensive set of guidelines for the construction and renovation of buildings in the education sector. Collectively, this legislation covers a broad range of criteria, including fire resistance, fire escape, acoustic performance, accessibility, safety and consideration for those with disabilities and special needs.

The guidance is quite detailed, and the doors for different rooms may vary depending on the room’s location and use. So for example, the acoustic performance requirements for a library are different to those for a music room. The guidelines are further complicated by giving consideration to the age groups and abilities of people occupying the rooms and a further distinction is made between renovations and new build.


Safety in schools is of paramount importance, and the requirements for fire safety and security are well-regulated. However, there are some other considerations that may not immediately spring to mind.

Finger trap injuries are sadly not uncommon in schools, particularly amongst the younger age groups. The occurrence of these nasty injuries can be greatly reduced by specifying an anti-finger-trap hinge.

Vision panels (the glass windows in the door leaf) are another important safety device as they allow a person to see who is on the other side of the door before opening it. When specifying doors for a primary school, for example, it may be worth ensuring that the vision panels make it possible for younger pupils to see and be seen from the other side of the door.

Hygiene has never been more important than it is now, and as doors are frequently touched, it makes sense to specify doors that can be easily and frequently cleaned. It is also possible to specify doors with a special antimicrobial finish that has been proven to kill germs and help prevent the transmission of diseases. Particularly popular in hospitals, this antimicrobial finish surely has a place in our schools too.


The doors in most education establishments will be expected to take a bit of a beating! From a contractor’s perspective, it is important that the doors are robust and durable so that there will be no need to return to site to repair or replace the doors that were perhaps not fit for purpose.

It is interesting to note that the DfE specifically states in its guidelines that hollow-core doors are not suitable for schools and solid-core doors should be specified instead. At Performance Doors we would go a step further than that, and recommend stile and rail doors for frequent use areas.


Doors don’t have to be dull and boring. With a huge range of colours and finishes to choose from, it is perfectly possible to make the doors a design feature that adds colour to the building. In a primary school or nursery, you may just want to create a colourful atmosphere, whilst in a secondary school or university, colour could be used to help identify the rooms – you could have a different colour for each year group, or for different subjects, or perhaps just to help people find their way.


Nobody wants to pay more than have to for their doors… yet at the same time, the doors have to perform to a specified level and be robust and durable enough to perform for many years to come. By specifying each door according to its location and use, it is possible to ensure you have the durability and performance where you need it, and can save money in the places where you don’t.

We’re here to help

There’s a lot to think about, but rest assured, our experts at Performance Doors are on hand to help. As expert manufacturers of performance doors, we can supply all the doors you need for your education sector project, all made to your precise specification by us in the UK, and all thoroughly tested and certified to comply with the appropriate regulations.

We have all the necessary safety measures in place as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, and we remain fully operational. We welcome enquiries for fire doors, acoustic doors, hygiene doors, security doors, x-ray doors and more. Visit our website for more detail or contact us on 01244 551360 or