Hunters and Magyar Marsoni complete school for children with special educational needs
Designed around an internal courtyard, Forest Way is a Special Needs School for 3-19 year olds, providing an intimate and tactile environment for students with multiple learning difficulties. It sensitively compliments the surrounding landscape and natural environment by creating a harmonious link with an historic wood adjacent to the school grounds. The school’s relationship with the outdoors is reproduced inside with cosy woodland areas for the children to use.
The teaching spaces are located in three "fingers", connected by naturally lit internal circulation spaces to aid easy access to all areas of the school. The building is orientated to optimise natural, but not direct, daylight. Rainwater harvesting and wind turbines aide sustainable credentials and the UK sourced sweet chestnut cladding and SIPS panels are both FSC timber.
Hunters and MM’s challenge was to create a school which not only provides a positive learning experience from a young age through to adulthood, but also lifts the spirit and aspirations. Sound and touch, which are fundamental requirements of SEN design, are inherent throughout and pupils can listen to sounds from the natural world. The whole school provides visual, aural and sensory contrasts to enhance the senses and facilities include a hydrotherapy pool with underwater sound and lighting, a library / IT pod and multi sensory rooms.
The school has been appointed as an area centre for excellence and outstanding practice and holds separately accessed training and community facilities. This strengthens the relationship with the adjacent school in the shared campus and the nearby community in Coalville.