Design principles at SEN schools under the microscope

This webinar, which is a partnership between the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) and HLM Architects will explore the principles used in the design of space for Special Education Needs (SEN) school projects and the importance of outdoor space and the challenges that the current pandemic has generated, and how this has affected design in learner spaces. This session will be chaired by RSUA President Donal MacRandal.

The event will run as follows:

  • 10 minutes from Catherine Ward
  • 10 minutes from Holly Passmore
  • 10 minutes from Conor Houston 
  • 30 minutes for Q&A panel discussion – chaired by RSUA President Donal MacRandal – speakers will be joined by Ciaran Mackel

Catherine Ward, SEN Lead, HLM, will examine the principles used in the design of space for SEN/Additional Support Needs school projects. This will include which aspects are important for learner experiences, such as colour schemes, creating a nurturing environment and sensory-based rooms through thoughtful design. Catherine has over twenty years experience in architectural practice, working predominantly on education projects throughout the UK including Higher Education, Further Education, Schools and SEN. In her role at HLM, Catherine manages the development of HLM’s special education portfolio and profile nationally.

Holly Passmore is a Researcher for Psychology and Space and has been active in exploring he impact of COVID-19 on children and young people’s current and future health and wellbeing, including an exploration into inclusive learning environments. She is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Conor Houston is chair of the board of governors of Fleming Fulton Special School and a governor of the Irish Times Trust. He is a Director of ShoutOut (and LGBTQ+ youth charity) and founder of Connected Citizens.

Ciaran Mackel is Practice Principal at ARdMackel Architects, which was responsible for Colaiste Feirste and Bunscoil an Sléibhe Dhuibh. Ciaran is a senior lecturer in architecture at Ulster University.