Chatten Free School, Essex

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A courtyard has been transformed into a ‘practice’ park to help young people with autism gain experience of being in a public place while still in a supportive school environment.
The park is among the features at Chatten Free School, a specialist day school in Witham, Essex, for children and young people severely affected by autism and associated learning difficulties.
The school was designed to teach students how to deal with everyday situations and to further their life skills.
The ‘low arousal’ environment offers access to therapeutic rooms as well as classrooms and life skills areas such as the park, which comes complete with a K-Nine 40-litre Dog Waste Bin and Broxap’s Derby Compact 120-litre Litter Bin.
The outdoor areas are especially important at Chatten Free School and every section has its own bespoke play area designed specifically for the needs of that group.
Each area has at least three pieces of equipment designed to provide a different physical or sensory experience.
With a dedicated specialist playground division, Hand Made Places, Broxap was able to supply and install a variety of play equipment to meet the requirements.
The Key Stage 1 (KS1) play area includes a Nest Swing and Extra Large Sand Pit as well as a bespoke Whirling Platform with three seats.
Children in the KS2 group have access to a Double Flat Swing and Spinning Infinity Bowl. Two further Nest Swings, in a bespoke double frame, are in place for KS3 with three trampolines also supplied to the site.
The school features a shared hard play area which is utilised for a number of activities, with 10 Bryntirion Benches in place around the site.
FSC-certified timber has been used in the manufacture of these products as part of the sustainability credentials of the £8 million facility.
Cycle parking encourages green travel among staff with two Wardale shelters each offering secure parking for 12 bikes with Sheffield Cycle Racks in place.
A bespoke freestanding Newcastle Senior Shelter, with a monopitch lattice canopy, was installed by our teams to offer covered access to outdoor learning space.
Chatten Free School, named after a student whose family campaigned for better post-16 SEND education provision, is part of an £85 million investment in special school places by Essex County Council.

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