Time: 13:15 - 14:15
Date: 22 June 2023
Is there such a thing as a flexible ALN environment? Catherine Ward, Associate, SEN Lead & Gina Callaghan, Architect, HLM Architects There is a common thought that ALN schools cannot be standardised or consistent but require a bespoke approach to their design. However, my recent involvement in the design of several special schools, has led… Read more »Education Buildings Wales
Is there such a thing as a flexible ALN environment?
Catherine Ward, Associate, SEN Lead & Gina Callaghan, Architect, HLM Architects
There is a common thought that ALN schools cannot be standardised or consistent but require a bespoke approach to their design. However, my recent involvement in the design of several special schools, has led me to contemplate if it is possible to create a truly, flexible ALN environment, specifically for ambulant settings. This is especially pertinent and an important consideration for Local Authorities who are charged with providing an ever-increasing number of ALN places, often with a fluid cohort. How can we provide space fast enough to cope and not compromise on the needs of our most vulnerable children, young people and families.
Predicting and delivering the correct type and amount of places for children and young people with ALN is challenging, as the number of pupils with an EHCP continues to rise year on year particular those with Autism and SEMH. This is putting extra pressure on schools and Local Authorities that have a statutory requirement to educate as many pupils within their own authority as possible.
There are broadly speaking 4 types of special school settings which cover the following specialisms:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning
- Social, emotional and mental health
- Sensory and physical needs
Some special schools are generic, catering for a wide range of needs, others specialise in a particular area, or a sub-section of a particular area eg. autism or SLCN.
From a designer’s point of view, stand-alone special schools are typically divided by Building Bulletin 104 into ambulant and non-ambulant schools. Which category they fall into, will define the amount and type of both internal and external space they require.
This presentation will focus primarily on the needs of ambulant ALN schools and discuss whether it is possible to design highly flexible, agile ALN environments, that allow schools to deliver high quality education and care whilst allowing Local Authorities to maximise the number of pupil places they are able to provide, for a wide variety of primary needs.
Foghorns to Classrooms – does sound really matter?
Shane Cryer, Concept Developer – Education, Saint-Gobain Ecophon
The world around us is getting noisier and our understanding of the harm caused by low frequency noise is increasing. The percentage of students with ALN is accelerating and a significant proportion of them find a noisy, reverberant environment hard to be in, let alone focus, learn and memorise. From fog horns to Japanese thatchers, this presentation will cover the design principles every architect should know when it comes to designing an optimal, inclusive and sustainable learning environment for all.
- Shane Cryer Concept Developer - Education - Saint-Gobain Ecophon