The unit was designed by Hoopers Architects. Aaron Padmore and Craig Driver worked hard with the school to create a building that would sit within the beautiful woodland environment and enhance the school site.
The building reflects the school’s belief in the importance of the natural environment being used to support the children’s learning and development. Unfortunately, the start of works on site was delayed by the pandemic. The builders, TJ Evers, managed to complete the job despite the challenges of Covid just before Easter. “We are all very pleased with finished building,” said headteacher Maria Kemble.
The unit is part of Suffolk County Council’s vision for the improvement in provision for pupils with additional needs. “We are pleased to be working in partnership with the local authority,” said Mrs Kemble, “and grateful for the financial support that has resulted in such an amazing resource that will benefit many children and families. We are delighted to be able to welcome our first pupils this term and look forward to being full in September.”
The unit has three classrooms – one for 12 reception, year 1 and 2 pupils and two for 18 years 3-6 pupils. “We have decided to call the unit The Nest,” explained Mrs Kemble “and each class is named after a bird – Robins, Kingfishers and Owls.”
Mrs Rachael Barlow, the unit lead, has been in post since January setting up the Nest including appointing staff, visiting the children who are joining and making sure the school has everything in place for a successful opening.
“As we have a federation of two Primary schools – St Edmund’s in Bury St Edmund’s and St Joseph’s in Sudbury – the unit adds to the excellent education we provide,” said Mrs Kemble. “As Catholic schools, we believe it is our mission to welcome all into our schools and the unit will mean we are able to meets the needs of those most vulnerable in our community.”
Pictured above is Bishop Alan blessing the Special Needs Unit, with a child from the unit and headteacher Maria Kemble (front right).
You can see a Flickr gallery of the blessing by clicking on the link or the picture below.