Fen Rivers Academy provides specialist therapeutic education to pupils with SEMH.
They are part of the larger Catch 22 multi-academies trust who provide smaller, supportive alternative provision for learners.
We were asked to turn a double space within the school into both a calming and active area to help channel the children’s emotions, providing a resource where they can refocus and enhance their mental health.
The areas needed to be flexible, creating two very different results. As we had previously created a successful and popular calming sensory area for the Academy back in 2020, we welcomed the opportunity to find a new solution for the secondary space.
Academy Design Process
The area when you first enter the room was still to be a calming space, but with different elements to create a completely different feel overall.
Soft fixed benching provided areas where the children could relax with sensory products to enhance the overall effect. These included the popular Borealis Tube and Infinity Den where the pupils could take time out.
As the ceiling was low, the den was extended to the ceiling for safety to prevent the children from climbing up and jumping off.
Towards the back of the space, we created a soft comfortable environment where the pupils could chill out anywhere in the room on the soft floor and enjoy the calming elements of the mood lighting and music.
Themed ceiling panels were fitted to provide them with a relaxed visual when they lay back.
A range of soft play features were then added for flexible play, with the addition of a rocker to introduce the relaxing motion.
In a unique request, we installed a basketball net to refocus the children and give them an activity to enjoy whilst in the room with foam balls.
Academy Installation Process
The installation went very smoothly from survey to manufacture and installation. All padding is bespoke, providing a perfect fit within the two rooms.
As you can see from the design to completion photos above, the design engineer will enhance the designs where he feels it will improve the overall look and use of the room. These are then approved by the client prior to manufacture with the colours inputted to give a final impression.
Academy Training Process
Training was provided on completion of the installation although all very simple to use with Bluetooth sound system and on/off switches for most products to maximise use with each session.
Overall, throughout our time working with Fen Rivers Academy, we were able to create a unique sensory space for the pupils to suit their needs. This included products such as the basketball net, balance beam and rocker, providing a different type of calming sensory space.
This has already proved very popular with the students and has been well received by the staff at the Academy as an ideal space for the children to retreat to when they need to focus on their mental health and take time out from school and life stresses.