Court Yard & Sensory Garden Reopening
Delius Primary Special Needs School reopened in 2010 after several years of reorganisation within the special school sector in Bradford.
Pupils came from 5 different special schools and some were new to school at all. Pupils have a wide range of needs, including complex medical, physical, emotional and learning difficulties and disabilities. Delius Primary is a generic specialist provision for children with a range of needs, PMLD, SLD and in particular pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
The original courtyard area was mainly a large open space with some music panels and a patterned stone surface. The original water feature had to be decommissioned due to technical issues and was made into a raised planter to match the other raised planters located around the area.
Delius Primary wanted to create an area that would be more natural looking, exciting and be challenging for children with a broad degree of differing abilities and needs whilst retaining wheelchair access to and from the area via the perimeter doors.
The design we proposed required site preparation works in the form of the removal and disposal of all the old raised brick planters and water feature leaving a flush level area, as this then allowed us to make the best use of the space in the main area.
We offered two different size Gazebos, one large one to provide shade and shelter during inclement weather and a smaller one which was to be totally enclosed to provide a stimulating zone for partially sighted children.
The original music instruments were relocated into the new music area, a bright coloured wet pour surfacing including musical graphics were used to demarcate the new area as well offer visual enhancement of the zone and a differing textured surface.
The Sythetic Grass provides a great tactile surface for the children to play and sit on whilst providing the natural look to the courtyard, due to the need to cover the removal works of the planters and water feature we were also able to use the artificial grass as a free-flowing link from the mound tunnel to the sensory Gazebo and then on to the storytelling nature area.
The nature area has Storyteller’s Chairs set around the observatory sphere which can be used for different nature projects by the children over the school term as well as a reading zone.
There is a small section of the original stone cobbled surfacing remaining as this offers a further textured surface for children to experience whilst traversing over it.
Due to the length and type of the project, it was completed in two phases:
Phase one was the removal of the brick planters and water feature and site preparation works.
Phase two was the building of the new area and installation of the surfacing.
The feedback from the school has been very positive. The area not only looks great but can now be used on a more regular basis and by a high number of children. There may be room for further development of the Court Yard but at this time Schoolscapes are working with the school on other projects around the school.