Stage 2 Seminars

12:15 - 13:15

Pedagogically Disruptive Approaches in an SEN Setting

Pedagogically Disruptive Approaches in an SEN Setting


Philip Watson, Director, Head of Design at HLM Architects & Shona Crichton, Associate Principal, Springwell Leeds Academy.

Improving socialization and educational attainment in SEN settings is hugely challenging and ‘standard’ teaching and learning spaces may not provide the best settings for this. Wellspring Academy Trust uses highly successful ‘pedagogically disruptive’ approaches that improve outcomes for its students and these are facilitated by unique types of spaces that support these approaches.

This talk will explain how the Trust worked hand-in-glove with the architect to create spaces that support the pedagogies that are transforming outcomes for young people. It will show that conventional wisdom about best practice classroom design doesn’t necessarily apply in SEND settings. Examples will span both PMLD and SEMH settings with reference to school buildings in Barnsley that have been in successful operation for around ten years.

Learning Points:

  1. The type of pedagogies that can be accommodated in a variety of settings.
  2. The types of spaces required to support these pedagogies.
  3.  Comparative study of impact of disruptive pedagogies.
  4.  Understanding of how future schools, built to last at least 60yrs, can also facilitate these approaches.


14:15 - 15:15

Achieving Net-Zero ​in a Public Sector building

Achieving Net-Zero in a Public Sector building


Nadim El Bakri, Programme Coordinator, Salix Finance

Vaishni Patel, Programme Coordinator, Salix Finance ​

An overview of how Schools can plan towards decarbonising their sites. This includes an summary of what a decarbonisation plan can contain, how to think holistically and examples of best practice for delivery and post-completion monitoring. We will also discuss how Salix can provide funding moving forward to support these plans.

16:00 - 17:00

Wellbeing & Learning Driving Design continued

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



11:45 - 12:45

Inclusive Interiors

Reinventing the Classroom


Lesley McMillan, Chair, Society of British & International Design - SBID Education council Interior designer, The City of Edinburgh Council and

Jim Taylour Panel Expert, Society of British & International Design - SBID Education council Head of Design and Wellbeing, Orangebox

With education and our workplaces, now creating and developing agile environments “What does inclusiveness look like in an agile learning environment?” Exploring the role of interior designers in the creation of inclusive environments, they will discuss factors such as agile space, accessibility, environment, safety, digital considerations and nature all impact learning, inclusivity and wellbeing. On a journey of creating holistic learning spaces Lesley will share how some of these considerations are demonstrated in a new ASN School St Crispin’s due for completion 2021 and a body of research she is working on with The University of Edinburgh.

Learning Points:

  1. Interior Design considerations in the creation of inclusive environments
  2. Furniture solutions for inclusiveness and wellbeing
  3. Sharing of recent practice in creation of a new ASN School

Experience Design for an Inclusive Schools

Speaker: David Judge, Executive Creative Director, Space Zero

In this talk, David will explain the design discipline of "Experience design" and the difference it can bring to inclusive schools.

Space Zero have been adapting the strategies of the retail and leisure industries into educational environments for several years. In this talk, they share how this unique approach has been adapted for an inclusive school to make it unique and differentiated through the use of values within the design of the spaces.


  • Jim Taylour Panel Expert, Society of British & International Design – SBID Education council Head of Design and Wellbeing - Orangebox
  • Lesley McMillan Chair of the Education Design Council - The Society of British & International Design
  • David Judge Executive Creative Director - Space Zero


13:45 - 14:45

Connecting a community and the importance of integration

Connecting a Community; Social value & impact in education building design

Speakers: Ruth Hynes, Senior Design Researcher, Atkins

Education buildings play an important role in communities, and can provide amenities and social value through both the design of the building and the construction stages. This session will provide an overview of different tools and approaches to support socially-led designs that enhance social value and the wellbeing of staff, pupils, and the wider community, focussing on how we have used bespoke tools on schools projects including Lisburne SEND school, Stockport and Haverfordwest High VC School, Pembrokeshire. Using our Human Centred Design briefing tool for engaging building users and our Urban Community Index to develop Local Needs Analysis, we can better understand the needs and challenges of local communities and set a clear design vision with social value for the locality.

Learning Points:

1. Overview of social impact & social value concepts in the context of education building design
2. Tools to assess social impact & social value across the lifecycle of projects
3. Synergies between designing for wellbeing and social impact

Inclusivity and Special Needs Pupils

Speaker: Zane Putne, Senior Architect, Noviun Architects

The inclusivity and integration of special needs pupils within society should start at school from the early years. As the number of SEN pupils grow each year, the importance of their future integration within mainstream environments has never been more important. SEN pupils need to have the best preparation to adapt for life after school, therefore not only their mental health should be considered but also their social interaction skills with others.
The presentation will explore how inclusion and integration can be achieved throughout pupils’ school life and what methods and strategies could be used at different key stages of pupils’ development.

Learning Points:

  1. Inclusion strategies at different key stages
  2. Integration of SEN pupils into mainstream
  3. Providing better life skills for pupils after leaving school