The Birches is one of three projects designed by Walker Simpson Architects for Manchester Education Department’s TEF Inclusion strategy. The building stands alongside a wooded nature trail at a short distance from the existing school building with independent access for visitors.
The centre will be a calm oasis for teachers, teaching assistants, support staff and educationalists to focus on their roles in planning, preparing and assessing teaching requirements as well as providing interdisciplinary working on in-school practices and on developing new approaches to the inclusion of SLD pupils in mainstream school settings. The facility will also be available for use by other local schools which are predominantly SEN Special Schools. The design creates flexible spaces for a range of activities, along with a “think tank” with videoconferencing and a breakout area for informal discussion. The building reflects the practice’s commitment to sustainability with a passive ventilation strategy and a sedum roof garden.