The value of eco-buildings

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Barbara Neville, head at Rabbsfarm Primary School, talks about the school's expansion with a new eco-building and the benefits it provides to pupils.

What was your school’s initial need?
The school had been rebuilt in 2014. The SEN agenda had changed after our original plans had been set; the LA couldn't provide any more space and we were at maximum capacity. We decided it would be better if we had a special "nurture unit" for SEN pupils. Since the original school had won an award for its previous eco-building, we decided we wanted to have a seamless addition, not an add-on.

Why did you want this separate learning space?
We needed to provide an extra space for our children who have particular needs, enabling us to withdraw them for short periods in mornings or afternoons and then reintegrate them into class later.

What are the biggest benefits you’ve noticed for pupils and the school?
The additional space eases the load on our present accommodation and provides opportunities for greater small group working.

What are the advantages of the building process?
The building process didn't impact on the school: the site was secure and workers were very discreet. And it took just three months to put up. It also meant that the whole design was bespoke. So, we now have our sensory room, plus ed psych and speech and language specialists onsite.

What have the reactions been from pupils, staff and parents?
Pupils love it! It's a quieter area that makes them feel secure and gives them everything they need. As a consequence, staff and parents love it too.

What maintenance is required?
The building is on one level and all we need to do is oil it every five years.

What made TG Escapes stand out from the other providers?
It offered a space which fitted in with our present building and provided flexibility in the way it could be used.

How did you find working with TG Escapes overall?
Superb. They listened to the remit and worked with us to create the environment we needed.

Would you recommend one to other schools?
Without doubt! In fact, we have already ordered another building for an after-school club/breakfast facility which we can offer to other groups during the day.