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Birkett House

Client: Leicestershire County Council + Willmott Dixon Construction Limited

Location: Wigston, Leicestershire

Value: £12m

Contract: SCAPE Framework

This brief called for a new 120 place S.E.N School for pupils aged 4 – 19. The school has been designed around the idea of using sensory simplicity to impact positively on the comfort and behaviour of the pupils, who have a wide range of disabilities.


The design has two contrasting courtyards to help the pupils identify where exactly in the building they are, and where they need to go. The school is divided by its functionality, with primary teaching spaces taking priority on the western side of the building, each with similar aspects and orientation.


The classrooms benefit from high levels of natural light, and feature large overhanging eaves to protect from direct sunlight and glare. Using high level windows in this way also reduces the views out of the classroom at low level, to provide less distractions caused by outside activity. The classrooms feature a small alcove to the front with a much lower ceiling height. This provides a smaller, more intimate area in which some of the children find it easier to focus, in comparison to the large ceiling height in the main classroom.


The classrooms are subtly colour coded, and have a coloured door to their own external space, to help the children identify which classroom is theirs.

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