Specialist Autism School, Churchward in Swindon completes

Specialist Autism School, Churchward in Swindon completes

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The Scott Brownrigg-designed Churchward School has completed on the planned completion date, despite the current difficulties presented by Covid-19.

The £7m, free, specialist school will educate 75 11-19 year olds with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and/or Social Communication Interaction Difficulties (SCID).

Working to meet the specific needs of the school and its students, the single storey building has been designed to enable staff to quickly reach students in need. The staff and administration block is in easy reach of the main circulation route should staff need to rush from one end of the building to another in short notice.

Each Key-Stage is located in a distinct wing, to allow an easy-to-navigate hierarchy; this concept permits learners to gain confidence at each Key Stage and seeks to aid their progression through the school.

“The building offers a blend of therapeutic supportive rooms alongside general classroom spaces designed to support the academic, social and emotional progress of the students.”

David Dearsley, Head Teacher, Churchward School

Great care has been taken in the materiality of the school: warm Siberian Larch timber provides a softened, dynamic façade at the front, in contrast to the durable Timanfaya Blue brick at the rear. As the timber weathers over time, its colour and tone will gradually blend in with the brick’s established silvery patina.

Whilst internally we worked with a cool palette of blue hues, proven to create calming effects and reduce episodes of anger and rage. Even the carpet tiles and vinyl sheets have been heavily vetted to ensure that the flecks in the flooring products are not significant enough to classify as distracting for the learners who will be standing and walking over them.

The completion of Churchward School follows Scott Brownrigg’s work on The Venturers’ Academy Autistic Spectrum Condition School, which is the first state-funded school in Bristol for students with a primary diagnosis of autism.

With the new Churchward School now complete, we look forward to seeing it in use by children and teachers.

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