Hawthorns SEND

Hawthorns SEND School is a new build single storey SEND Primary School with additional Early Years’ Provision for children in the age bracket between 4-11 years. The school is a new traditionally constructed building, providing teaching facilities for students with complex social communication needs, including children with severe autism and children with significant emotional dysregulation, with a variety of SEND, including EYFS pupils.

Date

2024

Client

Robertson Construction Group Ltd

Value

£11m

From the outset we have looked to create a simple and sufficient building layout that is easy to navigate and responds directly to the schools’ brief and preferences. The composition of the building creates separate departments for pupils with different needs. The building layout has defined teaching departments of two distinct cohorts, which are: 1.Main school (MLD): EYFS pathway (ages 4-7) 4 classes for up to 40 pupils Primary pathway (ages 7-11) 6 classes for up to 72 pupils Enrichment pathway (ages 6-11) 3 classes for up to 30 pupils 2. Social communication provision (ADS): Social communication pathway 6 classes for up to 40 pupils Emotional regulation pathway 6 classes for up to 48 pupils The new building has been developed with clear zones, which have also been considered as part of a carefully designed M&E strategy for both lock suiting and ventilation. This allows for secure access to the individual zones as required. It also allows use of the building out of hours, whilst maintaining security to the rest of the building.
The site is exposed and bordering a residential area. Taking into consideration the needs of the pupils attending the school alongside the site constraints, a single storey solution has been deemed most suitable. The U-shape consists of two separate departments joined together via a spine building. The entrance located centrally to the spine building, is defined by a recess to the facade and material change to the elevations. The single storey allows for the building to remain at a non-imposing and overpowering scale for the pupils, creating a sense of a community feel and child friendly environment. To create a calming environment the colour palette for internal and external finishes was a key focus during the design process. After experimenting with various colour schemes, we settled on a combination of grey colours and natural finishes. The School has a general policy to look for colours that are non-intimidating to help create the ideal learning spaces for children in the Autism Spectrum. Robust materials are important and rough surfaces have been avoided with the use of a grey brick palette and the introduction of warm wood grain cladding to selected areas. We worked closely with the school from the onset of the scheme and the design responds directly to their specific teaching methodology. All classrooms have direct access to groups rooms. Depending on the cohort, those vary between respite rooms and one-to-one quite rooms, whilst also ensuring all classrooms have access to larger group rooms. All classrooms have direct access to dedicated outdoors teaching spaces and the landscaping has been designed with careful consideration of safety and security, whilst allowing flexibility and meeting the needs of the cohorts. To the MLD wing the structure has been designed to accommodate ultimate flexibility for installation of swings in various configurations, allowing for different furniture layouts to suit different pupil needs. The construction is well underway, and we are really looking forward to delivering what will be a fantastic modern building with the most suitable state-of-the-art facilities to provide the highest quality SEND teaching environment.

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