Springwater School in Harrogate is a special school for children ranging from 2 up to 19 years old, and has an equally wide range of needs to cover – very complex medical needs; profound and multiple learning needs; a range of disabilities heavily reliant on adult support and equipment, through to more moderate difficulties, slow learners or developmental delay.
The school is also unusual in having specialist 6th. form provision supporting a large group of 35 learners. Many of the youngsters have autistic spectrum needs which is an area where Tough Furniture has a long track record of designing practical furniture solutions to support them and their teachers in the learning environment.
Local sales manager Kevan worked closely with the staff to develop their ideas so that our design manager Stephen could produce drawings for approval before anything was made. The school’s design brief for its kitchen/bistro area was bound to be interesting (!) as it had to easily and quickly change for very different users.
Specially-shaped table/bench sets were created in which autistic children could feel enclosed and safe but also supported by staff at mealtimes. Height-adjustable ‘daisy’ tables mean that wheelchair users can mix freely with others and still be supported, while to one side lies a low semicircular table where the more sensitive small children can sit away from the hurley-burley. Finally came a run of shaped and colourful high tabling where the sixth formers can feel more adult and prepare for the diners of the big wide world out there.
Head Teacher Sarah was asked why the school goes for Tough Furniture and replied:
” It’s safe, it’s very strong and it can be bespoke. The example of our kitchen/bistro area shows how you listened to us and responded with the solution we were looking for through a design that meets the various needs of all the children in school.”