SEMH Schools for DfE

“ Having the opportunity to work closely with academy staff to understand their pupils’ specific needs, and how the building can practically assist with their education, is what motivates me to design. The end users’ experience of the space is absolutely key. ”
Hannah Yoell

glendinning academy

Glendinning House School is a DfE funded school which caters for 120 pupils aged from 7 to 19 with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), including pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and is located in the small town of Newton Abbot in Devon.

The L-shaped plan wrapping around the central car park enables every inch of external space up to the boundary to be filled with educational opportunities. Outdoor facilities include a horticultural zone with poly tunnel, raised beds and allotment; an animal husbandry zone with pens for pygmy goats, chickens and visiting animals; a dipping pond, forest school, adventure play and games court.

Indoors there are 17 classrooms with Keys Stages 2 and 3 on the ground floor and Key Stage 4 and Post 16 provision on a first floor that exits directly onto the upper site level. Specialist teaching facilities include science, art, food technology and animal husbandry, along with sport, drama and music in the main hall, a dining hall and a central library.

The school was completed at the end of 2020 and opened to pupils at the start of 2021.

Glendinning Academy

north star academy

North Star Academy is located on the former Sea Mills Infant School site in Coombe Dingle, Bristol. It is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and will provide places for 85 students with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs between the ages of 7 to 16 years old. The Academy provides a nurturing environment to help students manage their responses.

The internal and external environment is carefully planned to consider pupils of different ages and their movements around the building. Safety and security are a key consideration with clear sight lines, minimised circulation distances and careful services integration to avoid surface mounted ducting alongside CCTV and access control to minimise risk.

The main two-storey element contains the specialist teaching spaces including hall, food technology, construction skills, science and art, along with the dining facility and administrative functions. On the first floor are classrooms for the older students, whilst the younger students are accommodated in a single storey wing.

Externally, the all-weather pitch, habitat area, games court, classroom teaching, dining and social spaces are arranged to enable easy, separate access for all ages. Routes through the steeply sloping site have been carefully designed to ensure wheelchair accessibility throughout.

Incorporating a school building into the Sea Mills garden suburb conservation area, with its small scale residential development and mature landscaping has required detailed consultation with the planning authority. The result is a building that meets the school’s needs and responds to the special character of the site.

The building is designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

North Star Academy
North Star Academy