There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. 8% of children are disabled and 4.4 million disabled people are at work. With so many people in mind, it is essential to create buildings that allow access and cater for additional needs.
When creating an optimised environment for learners with special educational needs, there are so many factors to consider that are often overlooked.
Which Practical Issues Need To Be Considered When Creating an SEN Optimised Environment?
There are many factors that need to be considered when creating an ideal learning environment for people without any additional needs. Therefore, creating an SEN optimised environment means deeper consideration needs to be made in order to create a fun, functional, practical and safe place suited to additional needs. Just some of the key factors that need to be considered are:
Sensory elements - Control over lighting, acoustics, materials and textures can be essential in SEN spaces.
Health and wellbeing - Appropriate toilets, showers and hygiene facilities need serious thought and planning. The frequency, location and accessibility of these facilities need the utmost consideration because without additional facilities for changing and washing, many people with disabilities are left with no option but to lie on toilet floors to be changed which is highly unhygienic, undignified and puts carers at risk of injury.
Spacious but safe - You want to create an unobstructed space so that movement is easy but also safe.
Separate zones for different needs - Depending on the needs of the pupils, this may include therapy rooms, sensory rooms or isolation rooms for some quiet space.
Access to the outdoors – There is often growing emphasis on outdoor learning, so classrooms can be designed to feature bi-fold doors, accessibility ramps and canopies so that the outdoors is easily accessed and enjoyed.
Which Features Can Be Installed?
Our strong relationships with education authorities across the UK has led our research and development team to produce many innovations to help make our buildings highly adaptable. These can include:
- Anti-scald taps
- Door & window finger guards
- Lighting that has proven to enhance learning
- Electronically controlled roof skylights with automated ventilation management and rain sensors
Alternative resource provision upgrades:
- Separate zones, such as intervention rooms
- Access control on external doors and outward opening doors
- Heavy-duty plasterboard to provide increased impact resistance and soundproofing to a 35db rating
- Accessible ramps
- Wheelchair-accessible showers and wet rooms
- Weight-bearing ceiling track hoists
- Height-adjustable washbasins
- Spacious designs, created to accommodate specialist equipment such as integral oxygen cylinders and leg rests as well as a parked wheelchair
Any of our buildings can be specified and fitted out as suitable for use as assembly halls, IT suites, after school club areas, laboratories, canteens, exclusion & reflection rooms, and many more options sculpted around your requirements.
Trust In Springfield
We know all too well just how important it is to create a positive learning environment. Each design must be fit for purpose, as an SEN building should fit sensory as well as practical elements while looking modern and appealing.
A fantastic case study of ours to take a look at is based around Moor Hey School. Their requirement was for 2 new classrooms with an internal disabled toilet and office space for the caretaker along with secure storeroom facilities for the IT infrastructure. It was important that the project was completed promptly to enable the school to accommodate the increasing pupil intake.
We have over 40 years of experience in the construction industry, so no request is unheard of. If you would like to find out more, contact a member of our expert team using our contact form, request a callback or call us on 01744 851958.
Published: Mar 15 2022 in Building Types