The Challenge:

Southwark Council noted the demand for a special school for pupils with autism in the area. Their aim was to create a school which would provide exemplary education like its partner school, Spa School Bermondsey which was awarded an Ofsted ‘Outstanding in all areas’ in 2015/16.

Spa School’s vision is to ensure that all students are happy, safe, healthy and can learn at all levels. They focus on developing independence whilst improving communication and social interaction.

The new school had to support this vision with versatile teaching spaces ensuring that each student would receive a tailor-made teaching programme meeting their specific individual needs. Facilities had to support a broad curriculum, including therapeutic input, and support the sensory needs of the students.

In addition, the building had to be highly sustainable and energy efficient with a strong emphasis on the use of natural light and ventilation.

The Solution:

The new school offers a wide variety of special learning spaces including classrooms, a science lab, art room, music room, food technology room, hall spaces, library, sensory/calm rooms and drama studio.

The finishes are a muted palette with design aesthetics aimed at low stimulus. It includes social areas, tables, work stations and a reading corner. The school is also surrounded by peaceful outdoor spaces for play and relaxation time. The grounds have been landscaped to provide a garden, cycle storage and areas for play.  

The new building’s form is designed to maximise natural light and natural ventilation. It houses the reception, staff rooms, teaching spaces, a new lift and staircase. Energy efficient features include motion detection light switches, daylight detecting and energy saving lighting, variable speed drives on pumps and fans, heat recovery on ventilation plant, BMS control, and smart meters with energy monitoring and reporting facilities.

The Impact:

The completed project enables the school to form part of the community where teachers can work closely with parents and carers to contribute to each student’s progress. Various versatile facilities are on hand to support all students and help them to develop at their own pace including smaller classes for younger students.

Spa School, Camberwell, has met the vision and mission of our client and key stakeholders to have a purpose-built facility through which to expand their services. This new school for Southwark Council, the Spa Education Trust and the Department for Education will have a significant impact on the community and all students who get a chance to attend this striking facility.

" Spa Education provides outstanding education for pupils with autism. Our new school in Camberwell will give us the opportunity to work with even more children and their families. "
Steph Lea Headteacher Spa School, Camberwell

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