Eco building for SEN at The Shires Oakham – Video
The Shires at Oakham, part of the Acorn Care Group, is a residential special school for young people with a diagnosis of Autism. They wanted to be able to separate school and home for the students.
Why did you want to develop a separate learning space?
As a residential special school for young people with a diagnosis of Autism, we aim to provide the best quality in terms of both care and education. Initially, our education and care provisions were both based within the same building. However, we believe that school and home are, and should be, very different places with different sets of expectations. We wanted to provide a clear separation between these two elements of our young people’s lives, ultimately ensuring that their home is just that. We also wanted to embrace learning without walls and the design of our new school building opens up our classrooms to the outdoors so wonderfully, the opportunities are endless!
What made TG Escapes stand out from the other providers?
As part of a larger group of schools and residential care provisions, we trusted in the reputation of TG Escapes who had already carried out fantastic work for some of our partner provisions.
What are the biggest benefits you’ve noticed for the pupils and your school/setting/college?
Our young people now have increased clarity in terms of school and home. Being able to close the door and leave at the end of a school day is a very powerful action in terms of our students’ understanding and mental well-being. The building has also allowed us to provide a dedicated, multipurpose therapy space where students can receive a range of therapeutic interventions, either as an individual or as part of a group, in an environment that is safe, nurturing and well equipped. Finally, the design of our new building allows us to fully embrace learning without walls by offering direct access to our outdoor space from every classroom. This also enables our young people to more independently regulate their own behaviour and to understand that at times when they feel overwhelmed or overstimulated, they have quick access to an area of calm and quiet where they can successfully work on reducing tension.
How did you find working with TG Escapes overall?
It was generally a very positive experience. We were pleasantly surprised by the pace of the project and how quickly the building came into fruition.