Photo Accreditation: DKA Bath.

Silcock Dawson were appointed by the Department for Education (DfE) via the Schools Framework to carry out the MEP design for a new SEN school in Newton Abbot.

The School will be a 7-19 mixed special school for students with Autistic Spectrum Condition and Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) needs in Newton Abbot (Devon, South West) who are able to follow the national curriculum but are unable to attend a mainstream school due to barriers to learning including sensory needs and anxiety.

The School is currently planned to open in September 2020 with 48 FTE places and will reach a capacity of 120 pupils in 2023. The School is one of the first to be designed to the new 2018 DfE Output Specification (OS) which is far more stringent on both daylighting and pupil comfort within classrooms.

As part of the pre-planning design Silcock Dawson were heavily involved in the client engagement process to ensure the building met all the requirements whilst maintaining the tight DfE budget. Silcock Dawson carried out extensive thermal and daylight modelling using our accredited TAS software to ensure that the correct window size and orientation was selected to maximise daylight.

The School has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible with the use of controlled LED lighting throughout, natural ventilation where possible and building fabric u-values above Part L backstop. One innovation is with regards to thermal comfort within each classroom; this has been achieved using a ceiling mounted ducted NVHR (Natural Ventilation and Heat Recovery) unit, which draws in fresh air via a slow speed fan when sensors within the room detect high levels of carbon dioxide or temperature. It also comes with a built in heater coil which allows the fresh air to be warmed for room heating. This removes the need in classrooms for wall mounted radiators increasing the amount of free wall space for FF&E.