Project Background St Crispin’s is a special school in Edinburgh that supports the learning of pupils aged between 4-18 with...Read case study
Following a successful application process, Cascade Academies were awarded funds from Sheffield County Council to create specialist SEND wings within three of their mainstream primary schools – Beck, Whiteways and Hucklow. Allowing them to provide a more inclusive learning environment for their students with special educational needs.
It was a collaborative process from the very start.
Our sensory team joined forces with the Academy to draw up designs that would illustrate how the SEND spaces would operate, ready for submission to the council for approval.
The spaces needed to work for every student. With areas that could be used for relaxation, sensory stimulation, and alternative spaces to learn.
The approval process was swift, and soon enough, our installation team were packing up their tools, ready to develop the new areas across the summer holiday, ready for a spectacular September opening.
The first of our academy sensory renovations was Whiteways. They wanted to create soft sensory areas that their students could use to relax, release energy, play and discover their senses. So, we decided upon two special rooms that would make up their new SEND wing.
First was a Soft Play Room: A space for children to let off steam safely, and an interactive space where students can choose the right music and coloured lights to reflect their mood.
We decorated the room in soft padding and filled it with interactive sensory elements including, Vibrating Bumpas, Musical Squares and a Sound Wall. We had to be a bit creative when choosing the room’s climbing apparatus because of its restricting ceiling height. Instead of large blocks to jump and tumble off, we transformed some low-level boxing into a challenging balance ledge and included a selection of loose tunnels that are great fun for climbing over and crawling through.
Whiteways second sensory space complemented the excitement of their Soft Play Room, as we designed a mellow, relaxing and stimulating Sensory Room.
We wanted the space to feel safe and relaxing for any student who might need to go there to calm down and reattune their senses. From its sparkling Fibre Optic Curtain entrance to the daydreamy Hurricane Column, hands-on fidgety Tactile Panels and a selection of soft sensory seating – the room would certainly be a great sensory break for anyone to explore.
Beck presented a quaint sensory challenge, as we were given a much smaller space to transform into an expansive Sensory Room. However, that wasn’t a problem for our specialist sensory design team.
Using the narrow room to its advantage, we created a dark room filled with sparkling sensory light effects, perfect for personal relaxing sensory sessions. A Fibre Optic Carpet and Laser Stars shine beautiful twinkling lights into the space, inspiring daydreams; whilst an OmiReflex interactive projector lets you jump into and actively explore your dreams – pop the balloons or chase the stars – the games and fun are endless.
The OmiReflex projector can also link to a Blu-ray/DVD player to transform the space into a chilled-out cinema area. Students can sit back and relax in a cosy beanbag and watch their favourite films, videos and games, the dark space heightening their sensory immersion into the imaginary worlds.
Hucklow gave us a large room to fill with wonderful multisensory magic.
It was an interesting design challenge, too, as it would be used by students with more complex needs, so it would need to include an inclusive range of sensory resources.
From a playground of interactivity with an OmiVista Floor Projection system, LED Projectors, Ladder Lights and a surround sound system – the room can change and shift into a sensory space perfect for each user. So that they can relax, calm and discover their senses in peace.
With each of the school sensory wings completed in time for a September school re-opening, the staff and children couldn’t have been more excited to explore and interact with their new multisensory spaces.
“The sensory rooms look fantastic! We hope that they’ll be used to their full extent.”S. Ridges, Executive Headteacher, Cascade Academies