23rd Jul 2021
Design and fit out of a special independent school
R.E.A.L. is an acronym of the phrase Re-thinking Engagement and Approaches to Learning in order to highlight that, for some students, success in the education system means having to offer something different.
With this in mind, R.E.A.L Education appointed us to transform a former Victorian townhouse into an OFSTED approved teaching facility. The project was part of R.E.A.L’s strategy to expand the alternative learning opportunities they provide in Leicester.
R.E.A.L Education’s new site at Hinckley will become an Independent School offering full-time school placements for youngsters with complex additional needs. This new school will provide a service that meets the needs of children and young people who are particularly hard to place, and for whom traditional avenues of engagement have been exhausted.
Home From Home
The conversion of a two-story townhouse was an entirely new approach for R.E.A.L Education, who is a long-standing client. In the past, we’ve transformed commercial buildings into teaching facilities and training centres for them, but this was the first time we’d converted a house.
During the design phase, it was vital that the finished look and feel of the fit out retained a ‘homely’ feel to make students feel safe, and help them gain the confidence to reach their full potential and go on to enjoy satisfying careers.
Mindful of this key objective, we planned our designs sensitively to retain some of the unique features in the building like the tiled floors, fireplaces and decorative woodwork.
A Comfortable Space to Learn
Downstairs, a wall was removed and bi-fold doors installed to expand the space for a modern kitchen area. Modern appliances allow learners to practice life skills and learn more about healthy eating. A dining table with stools and benches acts as a gathering point where students can socialise. There are also two downstairs restrooms and an outdoor courtyard.
Feature wallpaper brings life into a comfortable communal area, and high-quality commercial furniture was used to ensure durability.
Teaching Spaces For Every Style
Upstairs we designed three smaller teaching rooms for learners who prefer to work privately or one to one with a teacher. There’s also an office space with secure storage for staff. We also created a digital studio where learners can get a feel for a career in video or digital marketing.
In 2019, we fitted out R.E.A.L.’s hugely successful digital studio in Mansfield which was their first creative digital offering. The renovation of the Victorian house means that these facilities are now accessible in Hinckley as one of the larger classrooms upstairs has been transformed into a digital suite to allow students to immerse themselves in a digital environment. The design has created the ability to offer a truly unique course that is founded on work-based experience in the creative digital arts industry.
A Sense of Achievement
R.E.A.L Education’s main aim was to create a place to deliver mainstream curriculum subjects such as Maths, English and ICT. Our design solutions have helped them to create a home from home environment where they can do this and more, enabling young people to gain a sense of achievement and reward from learning.
“Branching out into Leicester represented a significant step in our ambition to provide creative educational solutions for children and young people who may be “lost to learning” or “hard to place”. Blueprint Interiors fully understand our ethos and once again impressed us with their design expertise and the practicality of the furniture and equipment they specified. They’ve really helped us create an environment in which reflects our brand values and will inspire young people to thrive.”