Leading special needs school in the UK takes the dive with Spaciotempo

Mary Hare School has chosen a Spaciotempo temporary building to house its new customised swimming pool. Delivered on a tight budget raised through fundraising, the pool is a safe and brightly lit environment for students with hearing impairment.

Located in Newbury, Berkshire, Mary Hare School is a registered charity and is the largest non-maintained special needs school in the UK. The school educates 240 profoundly and severely deaf children, representing the single biggest community of children with a hearing loss in the UK.

Swimming is a major part of the school’s PE curriculum, and the existing pool required an upgrade to provide a better facility for teaching this vital, life-saving skill.

After looking at costings, it was apparent that more innovative, non-traditional build solutions were the only realistic solution available to Mary Hare School. Spaciotempo’s ability to customise temporary buildings to suit the needs of the school were identified as an attractive and viable option.

The pool facility is held in a 28m x 15m building, and contains features such as safe, non-slip vinyl flooring and hygienic, ventilated changing rooms.

An Innovative Approach Leading special needs school in the UK takes the dive with Spaciotempo

With a national catchment area, most pupils board at Mary Hare school, as their family homes are located too far away to commute from.

Local Authorities across the UK will cover pupils’ fees for their basic boarding, care and education. However, any capital development or equipment projects must be raised by the school’s fundraising arm, the Mary Hare Foundation.

It was therefore crucial to keep costs as low as possible for the swimming pool build. From exploring traditional build solutions, Mary Hare’s Head of Facilities and Estates (F&E) team found that this approach would not be economically possible.

Having already completed several different bespoke sports facilities for other schools, Spaciotempo was contacted to provide a solution.

Anne Munby, Fundraiser at Mary Hare Foundation, said:

“We know water can be a very dangerous environment, and it is made even more dangerous for our pupils who are deaf. It is vital that we have a facility to teach them how to be safe in and around water. Quite quickly Spaciotempo understood our needs and the budget available. The team were able to show us their portfolio of work, and thanks to Spaciotempo we can carry out these lessons in a safe and secure setting.”

The newly refurbished pool is now more energy efficient and cheaper to maintain. It has also been specified with non-slip vinyl flooring and ventilated changing rooms, making the facility safer for pupils and staff, as well as more hygienic and easier to run.

Leading special needs school in the UK takes the dive with SpaciotempoLife Saving Skills

For deaf pupils, the very nature of their disability means that they may not be able to hear a warning shout of danger or a rescuer’s instructions.

Pupils will need to remove all hearing aids and cochlear implant devices before entering the pool and are totally reliant on lipreading and sign instructions. To help the students clearly see the instructors, the temporary building is designed to let in lots of natural light with eight double-glazed windows, making it as bright as possible.

As the only leisure activity which can save lives, it was felt that the swimming lessons needed to be taught in a safe and inclusive environment of the school pool, and it also provides extended access to students with restricted mobility.

Scott Jameson, Managing Director of Spaciotempo, said, “It has been brilliant to work with Mary Hare School on their swimming pool and we are really appreciative of what the school is doing for the students. Everyone at Spaciotempo is delighted that the temporary building has delivered what they wanted cost-effectively, especially as we know funds for such big projects can be difficult to raise.”

For more about Spaciotempo, please visit www.spaciotempo.co.uk.  

July 3, 2018

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