Wellbeing & Learning Driving Design continued

Time: 16:00 - 17:00

Date: Day 1


School design for social sustainability and community cohesion

Time: 16.00 – 16.40


Dr Nada Milivojevic, KTP Associate, Queens University Belfast and TODD Architects

Clare Mulholland, Lecturer in Architecture, Queen’s University Belfast

Jim Mulholland, Director, Todd Architects

This presentation discusses design for more cohesive, inclusive and safe schools and communities. School buildings influence the development of social and emotional well-being and the development of personal beliefs, attitudes and values. With the appropriate school design, we can support the social and emotional well-being, development of safe and inclusive school grounds and development of soft skills. This presentation shows the concepts emerging from the theory and project practice. It presents results from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Queens University Belfast and Todd Architects.

Learning Points:

  1.  Firstly, this presentation shows how to translate interaction, critical thinking and other key skills into spatial concepts to support school design
  2. It discusses the typology of learning spaces in schools and how this can support the concept of sharing
  3.  It presents how space can be used for community involvement which further expands the topic of school design for social sustainability

Designing Hydrotherapy Pools for SEN Schools

Time: 16.40 -17.00


Bob Oliver,  Commercial Director, Innova Care Concepts

Alice Parker, Associate, Pozzoni Architecture

Hydrotherapy offers tangible benefits to the health and wellbeing of children and young people with a range of disabilities and health conditions (including life-threatening or life-limiting conditions). Hydrotherapy pools tend to be purpose-built with a constant or very gradual water depth of around 1 metre. The warmth of the water also influences the individual neuro-muscular junctions which results in decreased muscle tone and decreased spasticity.
Pools usually incorporate multi-sensory equipment such as lighting and sound to stimulate the senses, you can add colour-changing lights which can colour the entire tank of water to fitting bubble mats in the base of the pool, and rain clouds above it for further sensory stimulation, all aiding with an immediate positive impact on psychological wellbeing. They also include air jets as standard. Young people who tend to be in crisis for a lot of the time, as they are overloaded by their sensory environment find that after 20 minutes of splashing and moving round in a pool, are a lot calmer and more able to cope in class.
Infection control is another facet to consider in SEN schools as the pool will be used by many children, stainless steel is a particularly robust and hygienic material that does not scratch or promote bacterial growth on its surface, supported by bespoke Innova scientific research, as well as costs a lot less in maintenance and servicing over time.
Evacuation procedures are also key – just like any other school. Half-in half-out pools are perfect height for staff to get disabled pupils out of the pool and straight on to an evacuation trolley or couch. Considerations for designing a hydrotherapy pool, must look to include the overhead hoist access needed to ensure good coverage of the pool itself as well as a straight route to the changing rooms.

Learning Points:

  1. Hydrotherapy pools provide an opportunity for students to build physical strength and enjoy sensory stimulation in a safe, secure SEN school environment.
  2. Bespoke scientific research shows the difference in pathogen transmission of the different types of materials hydrotherapy pools can be constructed from.
  3.  Ideal design layouts and set ups of hydrotherapy pools to ensure optimum moving and handling, evacuation and safety considerations



  • Alice Parker Associate - Pozzoni Architecture
  • Jim Mulholland Director - TODD Architects
  • Clare Mulholland Lecturer in Architecture - Queen’s University Belfast
  • Dr Nada Milivojevic KTP Associate - Queens University Belfast and TODD Architects
  • Bob Oliver Commercial Director - Innova Care Concepts


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