Footprint Architects developed the feasibility and masterplan for a state-of-the-art special education needs SEN school at the former Rowdeford School in Wiltshire. The new multimillion-pound Silverwood School offers a highly bespoke learning environment for pupils with a range of needs including autism spectrum disorder ASD and profound & multiple learning disabilities PMLD. The masterplan was developed to help the students maximise their potential within a safe and secure school environment. We used our expertise in the impact of good spatial arrangement, acoustics, lighting and materials to offer a highly inclusive and immersive sensory space for pupils with special educational needs.
The new SEN school will cater for up to 350 pupils across the nursery, primary, secondary and sixth form age range. This enables the school to meet the future demand for special educational need places throughout Wiltshire. The new centre-of-excellence will offer state of the art facilities for students with autism, SLD and PMLD, including hydrotherapy, sensory, and health facilities, as well as a farm and cafe for vocational learning.
The masterplan required a sensitive approach to the site, which featured an historic Grade II listed former stately home in heart of the grounds, as well as a nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest SSSI. We developed a ‘School within a School’ strategy to minimise the scale and impact of the development, instead offering a community of small and intimate teaching clusters. This approach enabled the layout of the school to be clear and easily understood by all, whilst making the most of the unique opportunities offered by incorporating the grade listed property and the farm at the heart of the campus. The scheme creates an inspiring and sensory learning environment that promotes inclusion, provides future flexibility and offers independence.
The masterplan and arrangement of the site was developed to enable the new school to be as energy efficient and sustainable as possible, maximising passive environmental design to flood the teaching spaces with natural daylight and good ventilation, whilst reducing carbon emissions. The new building is to be constructed using cross laminated timber CLT, offering low embodied carbon, improved thermal comfort, a fast build time, as well as a natural, tactile and robust finish.
Footprint Architects are employed as client advisor during the developed design and construction stages. We have acted as lead architect during summer refurbishment works at several campuses, to provide improved teaching facilities, specialist therapy spaces and secure external breakout areas.
The new special school will feature
General and specialist teaching classrooms
EYFS and nursery provision
Specialist health and therapy facilities
Soft play, as well as external breakout and sensory gardens
Life skills development facilities, including a cafe and farm centre offering community engagement
As part of the development of the new school we have undertaken
Feasibility studies at a range of sites and campuses
School and stakeholder engagement
Refurbishment works at three existing campuses, including new extensions and the formation of external breakout and play spaces
Client adviser to Wiltshire Council during the construction of the new school