Arbour Vale School, Slough Schools BSF

Client: Slough Borough Council
Principle Architects: ACP Architects                                                                                                             Interior Architects: OIA Architects
Contractor: Wates construction
Finance: PFI
Value: 45 million
Completion. 2007

Arbour Vale School was designed, as a special needs school to ca­ter for 250 statemented children from early years through to mid­dle school, secondary education and post 16 pupils

The school has been specifically designed to cater for a large number of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) across the full range of the condition including Asperger syndrome. Edu­cation for these children focuses on social skills and therapy sup­ported by applied behaviour analysis (ABA) and structured teach­ing, with a special focus on language and speech therapy. Arbour Vale also caters for a large number of children with physical dis­abilities including deaf, partially sighted and blind children across all age groups including children with a range of statements who are accepted where the schools feels it is best suited in the provi­sion of a positive learning experience.

The school was provided with a number of specialist facilities in the education of autistic children. Stimulation in controlled environments plays a vital role in language and speech development and these additional facilities included: –

  • Splash Pool
  • Hydrotherapy Pool
  • Dance Studio
  • Multi Sensory suite including soft play room, white room, and ICT room
  • ITC Suite
  • Music Room
  • Design and Technology suite
  • Two court sports hall
  • Outside courtyard and sensory gardens
  • External playing fields
  • All weather sport surfaces


The learning environments
The teaching environment for special needs children has to be tailored to each year group with capabilities to allow for specialist equipment to be added and removed as and when required. The National Autistic Society (NAS) and Slough Schools BSF worked closely in the development of these environments with the architects and designers based on the NAS SPELL initiative.
NAS SPELL is a guide to the educational approach and environmental conditions for children with autistic disorders:
Low arousal