Cross Green Lane SEND

The school is an ambulant special school, which will provide education facilities for 100 primary and 100 secondary pupils. Part of the school’s pupil provision is for 8 number high needs pupils who require a specialist area within the build.




Portakabin Ltd



The Co-op Academy Trust have advised that the focus will be on a traditional education curriculum plus practical and life skills as a core part of the curriculum, whilst they are also looking to maximise community use, particularly looking to link with any local community disability groups. Community use has been explored and use of school facilities will be during evenings and weekends.

The proposal is to deliver a SEND School with a Reception, Primary and Secondary provision on the site of the former Copperfield College at Cross Green Lane in Leeds. The school facilities will be split across two storeys with double height shared facilities in the middle.

Split of primary and secondary stages has been achieved across two floors with the two separated, where primary is at one end of the building and secondary the other. The accommodation has been developed to also suite the most vulnerable pupils where hypersensitive pupils can have their own safe space.

The School will be delivered as offsite construction by Portakabin. The school will host 200 students aged 4-16 years. In addition, there will be provided an ASD department. The staff number is estimated at 150.

The new site layout will provide extensive minibus drop-off facilities and approximately 130 car parking spaces for staff and visitors. Particular attention has been paid to preserving existing trees on site despite the need for extensive sculpting of levels on the site to achieve the shallow gradients required for accessibility compliant access.

Dance / performance / drama are key features of the school and SEND pupils. Space is designed to allow for performances with demountable staging and moveable seating to offer the most flexibility of the space.

Horticulture and forest school are also a key part of the curriculum. Soft external areas have been utilised for learning and are accessible to all pupils. The proposed building and landscaping aim to create an engaging environment for both primary and secondary age student mindful of the need to ensure an excellent level of safeguarding. The external spaces have been divided to provide a series of formal and informal educational and recreational environments where all pupils can be accommodated as required. This is especially important within a SEND school where many pupils respond positively to being outside.

The nature of the building, the constraints of the site and the aspirations of the school informed the design and orientation of the building. A palette of different materials has been proposed to define different sections of the facade and create an identity for the school. The palette responds in part to the local vernacular, whilst also creating a modern and contemporary building. Consideration has also included the use of the exposed module face within the design. This is used to express the honesty in the building design methodology.

The Challenge

The school is part of a wider masterplan for the area, where the main principles aim to ensure that the site itself and surrounding boundaries maximize the site’s potential, whilst ensuring the development responds to the Council’s Climate emergency priority.

The Solution

Building orientation has been carefully considered to make best use of site constraints and opportunities. The optimal orientation alongside the compact massing for the new building have been developed to ensure optimised passive design and best sustainable performance outputs for the lifetime of the building.

The Outcome

The building has been optimally orientated to manage heat gains from the midday southerly sun during the summer months. This orientation best suits the teaching accommodation, minimizing direct sunlight and the result allows for a natural split of the site, affording private outdoor play/teach spaces with passive supervision to the south, whilst zoning the more public areas to the north of the site. The natural split of the site activities offers clear security zones, whilst also enabling the school to utilise the larger spaces for out of hours community use.

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