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SEND Design

18 Oct 2023
SEND Stage

Creating a safer school environment: a case study - Laurus Grace AP School
Dr Mark Sackville-Ford, Assistant Head of School and Trust Director of Inclusion, Laurus Trust & Alice Parker, Senior Associate, Pozzoni

Laurus Grace is the first Alterative Provision school from the Laurus Trust; a Multi-Academy Trust operating academic schools across the North West.

The new school in Stockport will provide education to 80 pupils between the ages of 11 – 16 years with a varying degree of SEMH. Insight will be provided around the journey in setting up an AP school, from funding to procurement, through to the engagement process and design development. 

The Trust works within a hub model as inclusion partners with mainstream schools in the local area. With the site location of Laurus Grace being set within an existing high school the presentation will touch on the benefits and challenges of co-location.

The focus on delivering KS3 and KS4 classes known as 'families' will also be discussed - providing classes which are to be fluid allowing smaller or larger 'families' depending upon the needs of the pupils. A distinct Nurture class will provide a mixture of KS3 and KS4 pupils, these pupils may require a smaller group to allow for a transition period before reintegrating into a mainstream school.

Key design features will be provided in the presentation including the cluster model approach, providing practical spaces for Life Skills Engineering and Science, Art & Technology and ensuring a safe and efficient drop off/pick up point for students.

Designing for SEND using MMC - A 360 view
Deb Tyler, School Organisation and Infrastructure - Children, Education and Skills & Pete Tyler, School Organisation and Capital Specialist, Newcastle City Council; Karen Hamilton, Head Teacher, Sir Charles Parsons School and students; Howard Davies, Project Manager, Aura North East; Mark Brown, Consultant, TG Escapes: and Dan McAleer, Sales Manager, TG Escapes

According to research by the BBC, the number of young people being educated in specialist schools has increased by a third over the past 5 years and those with an EHCP has risen by 50% since 2016. This has led to over half of specialist schools being oversubscribed. We need to provide more spaces but budgets are pressured. Whilst MMC are being encouraged across the education estate, there are many preconceptions, one of them being that building fabrics and environment cannot always deliver a suitable setting for SEND. However, TG Escapes research shows that many specialist schools have had a very positive experience of modular buildings.
This presentation will take a 360-degree view of just such a project at Sir Charles Parsons School. We will hear from the PFI specifier, Aura Northeast, the Local Authority, the design team and the end users, headteacher Karen Hamilton and students.

This project was driven by pressure on space where the existing buildings couldn’t be adapted. There was some initial hesitancy around using MMC concerning the robustness of the buildings and the need to support hoists. The building had to feature different flexible spaces including a PMLD to deal with the needs of students in privacy. A two-phase timber frame modular solution was selected but how did it work out for all the stakeholders involved?

We will hear about the challenges involved in specifying such a solution on a PFI site and the design decisions that were made. We will hear from the Local Authority about what it means from a budgetary and compliance perspective. Most importantly we will hear from the end users who are now using two modular buildings at Sir Charles Parsons delivered using MMC. The session will include presentations, video and panel discussion.

Stephen Wightman, Head of MMC - AtkinsRéalis
Mark Sackville-Ford, Assistant Head of School and Trust Director of Inclusion - Laurus Trust
Alice Parker, Senior Associate - Pozzoni Architecture
Deb Tyler, School Organisation and Infrastructure - Children, Education and Skills - Newcastle City Council
Karen Hamilton, Head Teacher - Sir Charles Parsons School
Howard Davies, Project Manager - Aura North East
Pete Trumper, School Organisation and Capital Specialist - Newcastle City Council
Mark Brown, Consultant - TG Escapes Modular Eco-Buildings
Dan McAleer, Sales Manager - TG Escapes Modular Eco-Buildings



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