ACA has designed a refurbishment of Ings Primary School in Hull. Above all, it was essential to create a safe environment for children with special educational needs (SEN). Ings Primary School is a Community Primary co-educated day school provided for around 273 children.
The Brief and Challenge
Primarily, the brief was to create a healthy, safe and fully accessible environment for children with SEN. Also, the design needed to focus on wellbeing. Yet, the challenge was to deliver the project with minimal disruption to the running of the school.
ACA’s Design Solutions
Indeed, children with SEN needs feel different from others and experience difficulty communicating. Therefore, the environment needs to support their communication ability and mental development. Thus, ACA’s design team has worked collaboratively with the school management, the Sewell Group and the Esteem Consortium Team. Importantly the aim was to design classroom spaces to subtly address the children’s SEN requirements. The key was to do it in a way without making them feel ‘different’.
So, in allocating the space for the classroom the ACA design team considered different window heights. This accommodated different ages and needs and also maximised access to daylight.
Specifically, ACA’s design provides a simple layout and efficient circulation for the building. Also, it creates an attractive, pupil-centred environment integrating natural materials and light.
Furthermore, the proposed internal layout provides an inspirational new learning environment for pupils and staff. It promotes equality of opportunity for disabled people. ACA has relocated the classrooms toward the front of the building to allow easy access and to maximise natural light.
In addition, clear door view panels to each classroom enable a natural cue for pupils’ direction of travel. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for pupils to process and assimilate important details of the environment they are about to enter.
Also, ACA’s design team has focused on the sensory experience of the school environment using acoustic flooring and soft furnishings. In addition, we designed visual contrast and texture to assist wayfinding.
The ACA team were very accommodating and proposed a range of solutions, working with the school to develop a design that met client requirements whilst ensuring that proposals stayed within the affordability cap of the scheme.