projectThe Education Village

locationDarlington, UK

value£35m

As part of the Darlington PFI Schools programme. Desco delivered the MEP design for this award-winning, unique concept which integrates 1500 nursery, primary, secondary and SEN pupils into an ‘all inclusive’ educational village catering for students between the ages of 3 to 19 years. The project also includes extensive facilities for community use, particularly relating to IT, performing arts, sports and swimming including the following: 4 lane 25m fitness pool, 50m2 hydrotherapy pool, multipurpose sports hall and changing facilities.

The majority of the building is co-used by primary, secondary and students with special educational needs and includes enhanced facilities within every block to support pupils with disabilities and specific learning needs. A bistro with café style dining is used to provide sheltered work experience.

There are specialist areas within the village to cater for the particular needs of some students such as light/visual sensory rooms, virtual reality rooms, soft play room, discreet dining area and specific accommodation for students for whom inclusion is not immediately appropriate, some social, emotional, behavioural difficulties (SEBD) students and some children with high spectrum autism. The village has a specialist autism provision across all departments with enhanced classrooms specially designed to provide a low stimulus environment.

The Education Village scheme won numerous accolades and awards including being shortlisted for a prestigious Prime Minister’s Better Buildings Award.

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