As the first of its kind in Wales and costing a cool £48 million, Penarth Learning Community has been described as a new ‘super school,’ bringing mainstream and specialised educational needs together under one roof.
A broad selection of paving products from Tobermore are showcased on the expansive school grounds. The landscape design is one of the many unique features of the school as a combination of Tobermore’s Shannon and Tegula block paving and Textured Flags have been installed in a variety of vibrant colours, with some areas even designed with interesting mixed colour patterns. Installed by Churngold Construction, the incorporation of bright colour reflects the positivity and ambition of the scheme beautifully.
Gareth Woodfin, HLM Architects’ lead architect on the project, has noted that there were several architectural challenges in bringing different schools together as each have their own requirements and their own unique approach.
By implementing the inclusive design style across the campus, pupils are brought together in the same classrooms and extra-curricular elements of the campus. Gareth Woodfin believes that “the design is pioneering in the sense that it allows pupils to learn and interact by using shared facilities with adjoining specialist ones adapted for specific disabilities.”
All pupils and the wider community have access to first-class health and well-being facilities, such as the sports hall, activity studio, hydro-therapy pool, physio-therapy suites, and trampoline room, constructed by Leadbitter. The school additionally contains life-skills flats which enable SEN pupils to learn to live independently, and a detached respite facility to accommodate pupils who stayed overnight at their previous SEN school, as well as providing respite for those in the local community who need it.
Gareth continues, “The new school is something we are immensely proud of and it presents an opportunity for the innovative delivery of education which pushes the boundaries of traditional teaching and learning.”