Furness Special School

Hextable, Kent

  • Client: Kent County Council
  • Project Value: £300,000
  • Brief: New build practical cookery teaching facility
  • Sustainability Initiatives: BREEAM Very Good

Furness School is a special school catering for 80 secondary students in Hextable. It provides placements for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social development needs, as well as, children with autism.

Furness School was originally established towards the end of the 19th Century as the ‘Swanley Home for Little Boys’. The magnificent Victorian buildings, which are still in use today, were donated by rich benefactors to cater for boys from deprived London families.

In 1955 the ‘Home’ became Kent’s Residential School for young children with learning difficulties. In the mid eighties it became a Residential School for secondary aged pupils with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD). In 2004 the school was re-designated to cater for pupils with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) and now offers 25 Residential and 60 Day placements. Kent County Council invested £4 million in the building of new classroom facilities, offices & a reception area.

The new practical cookery teaching facility is attached to the west wing of the main school building. It houses four shared spaces for eight pupils plus an adjustable space for a disabled student. It also has a demonstration bench, a teaching area which can double as restaurant space and a storage / preparation room.

Due to the specialist nature of this teaching facility, the design of the new build extension was developed in accordance with the following guides:

BB81 Design and Technology Accommodation in Secondary Schools A Design Guide
BB98 Briefi ng Framework for Secondary School Projects
BB102 Designing for disabled children and children with special educational needs