Summer is upon us and teachers are planning for September, when all pupils will be leaving the virtual classroom behind and returning to their schools. For many education establishments, including the Wherry School in Norwich, they have continued to nurture their special educational needs students throughout the lockdown.
Opened in 2017, the Wherry School was purpose-built for students with a diagnosis of autism. There are spaces for up to 100 students, aged from four to 19 years old. Situated near to Norwich’s ring road, the school features specialist teaching areas with accommodation for each age group arranged in a linear style. This helps pupils make an easier transition between key stages. The building was designed by LSI Architects, and we carried out the acoustic design.
We have a long history in acoustic design for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) schools. Our work for the London Borough of Lewisham included the Drumbeat and Brent Knoll ASD schools. We were behind the original Building Bulletin 93 regulations for students with special hearing and communication needs. This landmark document was co-authored by Adrian James, and covers areas such as how to mitigate noise from equipment inside schools and the best ways of creating a calm environment within a school. It comes as no surprise that we are frequently called in to carry out SEND school design.
When the Wherry School celebrated its official opening, Trust chairman Barry Payne commented: “This school is so important because there are so many children with autistic spectrum disorders who are not being catered for…These children could do extremely well but they do need the right environment and that’s what this will give them”.
Our central role in giving children what they need is particularly important during the challenging times of coronavirus. We wish the Wherry School – along with all educational establishments – the very best for a new and demanding school term.