Facilities at Pioneer School
Pioneer School was designed and built specifically to meet the needs of our population of students and it has a range of outstanding facilities provided to enhance the curriculum on offer to our students.
We know that the quality of the environment in which learning takes place can make a real difference to student engagement and progress. As a consequence we designed environments with plenty of light, space and good acoustics.
We also recognise that students learn in different ways and so the learning spaces were designed with this in mind.
Our sensory playground provides a stimulating multisensory environment with a variety of instruments to promote not only physical, cognitive and social development in children, but encourage learning, sharing and playing together in a fun, safe environment.
General teaching classrooms have very little fixed equipment to enable them to be easily reorganised to suit the needs of the students or the activity taking place. This flexibility of use is further supported by the ICT equipment we routinely use each day.
We have mobile touch screen plasmas in every classroom, with rise and fall capability. This does away with the traditional classroom organisation with a ‘teaching wall’ that becomes the focal point of the classroom and enables the screens to be used for
- whole class presentation, but also
- to be set up in a different space for small group work, or
- for individual students to access.
In addition, touch screen desktop computers are set up in a shared room between adjoining classrooms which not only increases the number available to a class but also avoids the necessity to designate a particular area of the classroom to computer use, which would restrict its use for other activities.
Each class is also equipped with smaller items of ICT equipment such as, iPads, digital cameras, Flipi cameras and switch operated toys. Additionally, our networkable equipment all communicates wirelessly to support the aim of anytime, anywhere learning.
Our pool has a gentle gradient from 0.9m to 1.2m in depth with access via steps with a hand rail or via a hoist. The pool also has an integral Jacuzzi area.
Able bodied and assisted changing rooms are available and a there is a full hoisting system from four changing beds that lead directly into the water.
The pool area has full sensory capability with a computer controlled light and sound system.
We have a large main hall that incorporates a projector and a full light and sound system. This space is used for PE lessons, rebound therapy for those students who benefit from this, daily gym trails to help to improve the mobility and muscle tone of students identified by the therapy team, school productions, visiting theatre and musical groups and whole school assemblies
Pioneer is at the cutting edge of technology to support learning with the development of its Immersive Room, the first of its kind in the UK (see the link on the home page).
Within the space we are able to project images across the room to replicate a wide range of different situations, ranging from the local barber shop to under the sea, the Amazon rainforest and haunted houses. The range of possibilities is endless and enables us to give the children an experience they may never otherwise get, to creatively enhance their learning or to safely practice skills in a near lifelike settings. The room also has an interactive floor and walls which enable students to become more involved in the space and for staff to extend its learning potential.
The design and location of the Immersive Space also provides the opportunity for it to be used as a stage area with the adjacent Performance area acting as the auditorium.
We have three dedicated sensory spaces that each fulfill a different purpose. One is complete with lights, sound, bubble tubes, a water bed and a vibro-cushion (for the hearing impaired) and provides an environment for pupils to have a stimulating sensory experience.
The second space also has light, sound and bubble tubes but also includes a sound beam. This space provides a sensory experience that affords greater control of the environment by the pupils. The final space provides opportunity for pupils to experience messy play and tactile activities.
Our soft play room provides opportunities for our youngest children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Sometimes, children who are experiencing anxiety or displaying signs of stress, are allowed time in soft play to work out their emotions in a safe environment. Members of the therapy team also use the space to work with pupils to develop core strength and improve mobility.
The music room is equipped with a wide range of musical instruments including an internet enabled Clavinova piano.
The performance space is equipped with light and sound and provides a flexible space used for a variety of purposes, such as dance, drama, yoga and film shows.
The design and location of the Performance Space also provides the opportunity for it to be used as an auditorium when the Immersive Space is used as a stage area.
The Library forms the focal point of the new extension to the school. It is a bright, open and spacious area with a variety of seating suitable for the very youngest pupils
through to those in our post 16 unit. In addition to space for many books there are also computers available for research purposes.
Art, Craft & Design Rooms
We have two Art, Craft & Design rooms, which are linked by a reprographics area and a wet space for messier activities such as clay or papier-mache work. The rooms themselves provide large surfaces for group work as well as spaces for individual work or work with small hand tools.
The reprographics space contains a large A1 printer and laminator, a T-shirt press and a digital sewing machine. These provide the opportunity for children’s digital work to be produced to high quality and in a variety of mediums.
There are a number of specialised areas open to older students which enable them to develop independence and undertake vocational activities.
The Food Technology room has four work stations, including two with rise and fall units to provide access for students in wheelchairs. There is a ceiling mounted camera above the demonstration area that allows the teacher to record the procedure to be followed. This can then be played back to the display screens associated with each work station to allow students to follow the instructions at their own pace.
Independent Living Flat
This space replicates a small single person flat, complete with bedroom, toilet, living room, kitchen and garden area. During their time in the post 16 unit students spend time here practicing real life skills. They do their own washing, make the bed, cook, do the housework and tend the garden.
The Enterprise Area forms the focal point for the post 16 vocational curriculum. On two days each week students run this area as a cafe, preparing food and serving customers. The space is also flexible enough to be used as a display or gallery area for products made and sold as part of the enterprise curriculum.
The space is also used for informal meetings and occasionally external courses.
We have included spaces in the school for the NHS medical and therapy staff. These provide office, treatment and consulting spaces that allow many medical needs to be met on site supported by Paediatrician clinics. This resource is also used out of hours by mainstream pupils requiring specialist support.
The exterior at Pioneer School have been considered with the same thought as the building itself and this has resulted in high quality outside spaces. Classes have direct access to outside learning areas and specialist classes have associated outside spaces. For example the Food Technology room has a small kitchen garden attached.
The design of the building has created two quadrangles that serve as playgrounds for primary and secondary students and these are equipped age appropriately. With shaded seating areas and a space for football for the older students and play equipment for the younger students.
We have a large 100 space car park with dedicated bays for school transport to load and unload adjacent to the building. The car park is surrounded by a horticulture area, orchard, wildlife pond, a newly planted ‘Jubilee Wood’ and an ‘Exploritorium’ – a space for our very youngest pupils to engage in creative and imaginative play.
Outdoor gym equipment
The recent addition to our school is the outdoor gym equipment which helps to encourage a fit and healthy lifestyle and positive mental health and wellbeing for our pupils. There is a variety of accessible exercise machines including a wheelchair trampoline.
The safety of everyone in Pioneer School is important to us and with this in mind we have a secure door access system fitted to all the main entrances and key internal doors. Once students are in school all doors are closed and can only be accessed by staff and authorised visitors. Failsafe procedures are in place that allow entrances and exits to open automatically should the fire alarm sound.
Outside spaces are all fenced, with a further security fence to the boundary of the site. The exterior of the building is also covered by CCTV.
Horticultural / Pond area
The horticulture and pond area provide our pupil’s with an experience of developing skills through a range of practical activities. These include growing and planting, caring for animals and pond life, conservation and cultural themes.