There are more than 230,000 people with disabilities in the UK who need support. When creating an optimised environment for learners with special educational needs, there are so many factors to consider that are often overlooked.
What 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. Frequency, location and accessibility of these facilities needs 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.
What 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 proven to enhance learning
- Electronically controlled roof sky lights 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 sound proofing to a 35db rating
- Accessible ramps
- Wheelchair-accessible showers and wet rooms
- Weight-bearing ceiling track hoists
- Height-adjustable wash basins
- 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 Lansbury Bridge School. Two classrooms were required suitable for children with special needs, along with a wet room with disabled facilities and junior male and female toilets. A major challenge included the need to re-configure the existing building as part of the extension project.
We have over 40 years’ 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 call back or call us on 01744 851958.
Published: Jul 14 2020 in Building Types