TG Escapes Blog
Student engagement day at Beacon Hill School
Two members of the team recently had the privilege of showing students and staff around our latest project nearing completion, at Beacon Hill School in Wallsend. The school is North Tyneside’s specialist provision for children with severe learning difficulties that include PMLD and Autism.
The school’s mission statement includes their intention of ‘Enabling students to maximise their potential and live happy and fulfilling lives’ and it was a great pleasure to introduce them to their new building with their mission in mind. Utilising our biophilic design approach the wellbeing, safety and educational achievement of the students lies at the centre of the project by creating a healthy and happy environment in which the children can express themselves and achieve their full potential.
The development is a two-storey SEND classroom block comprising 10 classrooms, PMLD rooms and a sensory room, as well as staff rooms, small break-out spaces for one-on-one care and ample storage for specialist equipment. The design was developed to offer aesthetic synergy with the school’s current facilities and to create a new enhanced environment. (1188m2 GIFA )
We were delighted to show two classes around on the day. As the students entered the building they excitedly donned hard hats and fluorescent tabards and it was great to see their wonderment as they explored the building going from room to room. It was fascinating to see their attraction to the natural finishes within the building and to witness the calming effect of the natural light flooding through the many large windows and glass doors. And, of course, the intense interest they showed the (very safely!) placed building materials and equipment. They thoroughly enjoyed looking up through the soon-to-be-installed lift shaft and climbing the stairs to an outlook where they could watch a digger in action preparing the external landscape.
We were impressed with all the inquisitive questions from the students, and it was a pleasure to witness their interaction with specialist teachers and support staff. At the end of the visit, the students were helped out of their PPE wear and presented with a branded pencil, containing seeds that they could plant, as a souvenir. Seeing the smiles, curiosity, excitement and interactions of the building’s prospective occupants reinforced our team’s belief in TG Escapes’ vision and ethos of designing and creating educational buildings that can truly make a difference in children’s lives.
With special thanks to –
Beacon Hill Students.
Justina Terretta, Headteacher.
Paul Jagger, Shaun Whillis, James Torbett, Specialist Teachers.
All the support staff on the day.
Rachael Coyne. Snr Capital programme manager at North Tyneside Council.
Tom Hillier, TG Escapes Project Manager.
Our site manager Andy Goodman and his team.
‘’The students had a wonderful visit to our new building. By exposing students to real-life building processes, it gave them a valuable educational experience. It helped them understand the various stages involved in construction and gain insights into the future of architecture and engineering. Thank you for this opportunity.’’
Shaun Whillis and the Beacon Hill Students.
Special features and additional considerations of the £3.5m building include:
• The use of natural materials, such as timber, at every opportunity
• Soft pallet pastoral colours on walls where end users require it
• Installing state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting solutions to fit the brief
• Utilising the best technologies like automatic door systems that work for wider door sets to accommodate large wheelchair access (Circa 1250mm auto doors)
• Secure hoists and access platform lifts
• Plenty of storage for equipment
• Appropriate flooring solutions
• Sensory spaces with fixed swings
• An internal climbing wall to support pupil mobility, with a full risk assessment and additional fire treatment
• All internal walls are reinforced with additional ply/OSB lining to provide a high-impact robustness.
• Easy access to a secure outdoor sheltered activity space, that is fully DDA compliant
About the author
More posts from our blog
There is a desperate need for quality new buildings across UK schools, but special schools are in a particular crisis thanks to rising needs and inadequate funding, with an urgent need for buildings that offer children with complex needs a comfortable and safe space...
Pupils today face a wealth of issues, from mental and physical health problems, to complex SEND needs. As designers and producers of modular school buildings across the UK, we are finding increasing demand for positive environments that uplift students and staff,...
It’s crucial that all students with special educational needs have classrooms large enough to provide a comfortable space for them, with government regulations in place to ensure suitable educational buildings are constructed across the UK. Special needs and their...