27 June 2019
Case Study: Woodland Classrooms, Belvue School
Belvue School is a secondary school for children with severe learning difficulties and a range of other needs. Its site, in Northolt, west London, lies next to a small patch of woodland over which the school has been given custody. With a few trees, shrubs and undergrowth, the woodland is small and scrubby, but for the students, many of whom come from nearby blocks of flats, it represents their only glimpse of nature.
There are two timber-lined classrooms, connected by a central covered open space. One classroom, Cosy Lounge, is used for workshops but can also be a calm and private sensory space when required. The other classroom, Sociable Kitchen, acts as a café with a food preparation area and space for group dining; it aims to encourage and inspire students to take on extra responsibilities and develop independent living skills. Both classrooms have full height glazing on the woodland side so that students can become aware of the changing weather and seasons. The timber-lined covered space between the classrooms, Messy Barn, is for outdoor learning, whatever the weather.