Chelveston Road School

Friars Multi Academy Trust

Project Value:

£10 million

Key Points

New build secondary school for pupils with special educational needs

‘Every child, every chance, every day’

Friars Multi Academy Trust provides special school provision for students with a range of educational needs. Their ethos is ‘Every child, every chance, every day’.

They previously had one school within the trust, Friars Academy located in Wellingborough, but wished to expand to provide a new ambulant SEN (Special Educational Needs) school in East Northamptonshire which will specialise in Cognition, Learning and Communication and interaction.

The school was procured and funded by the Department for Education on behalf of the Friars Multi Academy Trust, and supported by Northamptonshire County Council as the LEA.

A Feasibility Study was commissioned by the Department for Education to look at the provision of a special school for 145 pupils on the Chelveston Road site. The resultant report confirmed the scope and feasibility of the project.

Ourselves and ISG then worked with the Department for Education, their technical advisors and the Academy Trust to determine the spatial requirements and the preferred adjacencies of accommodation.

Our design creates a single storey building, arranged in an ‘A’ shape around two courtyards. On approach from the front of the building, the massing of three distinct elements helps to express the two main entrances.

It accommodates 145 pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 with moderate to severe learning difficulties, including children with autism. It caters for pupils with physical disabilities but will be considered an ambulant school. The school has a Forest School learning approach which has informed the design.

A low level of distraction and sensory stimulus

A key feature is that environments have a low level of distraction and sensory stimulus to reduce anxiety or distress. Safe, sheltered outdoor spaces are critical, and direct external access for general classrooms were required. As such, two courtyards are incorporated within the design which provides external spaces in which the students can feel contained, safe and secure. They also help to ensure that the vast majority of spaces benefit from excellent daylighting levels

Facilities include a dedicated post-16 area, a sports hall, therapy and medical rooms for outside specialist support, and future provision for hydrotherapy pool. There is provision for the facilities (such as the sports hall) to be securely used by the local community.

Friars Multi-Academy Trust Head of School Mark Adams commented “All members of the Associated Architects team provided high quality, professional material. AA Team listened to our ideas / concerns and provided excellent solutions for discussion and implementation. The final result is an excellent building which is already proving to be so much more than a building as our first cohort of SEND students settle in.”

A key feature is that environments have a low level of distraction and sensory stimulus to reduce anxiety or distress. Safe, sheltered outdoor spaces are critical, and direct external access for general classrooms were required. As such, two courtyards are incorporated within the design which provides external spaces in which the students can feel contained, safe and secure. They also help to ensure that the vast majority of spaces benefit from excellent daylighting levels

Facilities include a dedicated post-16 area, a sports hall, therapy and medical rooms for outside specialist support, and future provision for hydrotherapy pool. There is provision for the facilities (such as the sports hall) to be securely used by the local community.

Friars Multi-Academy Trust Head of School Mark Adams commented “All members of the Associated Architects team provided high quality, professional material. AA Team listened to our ideas / concerns and provided excellent solutions for discussion and implementation. The final result is an excellent building which is already proving to be so much more than a building as our first cohort of SEND students settle in.”