How a robust approach to design helped Leeds City Council

Rethinking specialist education

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How a robust approach to design helped Leeds rethink its SEMH provision. 

  • Location


  • Client

    Leeds City Council

  • ACE Member

    Hoare Lea

  • Services


  • Project

  • Delivery date


  • Delivery partners

    Atkins, Interserve

  • Project length

    3 years

A thriving city, Leeds has seen a significant growth in population in recent times, including a number of children and young people in need of additional support.

In order to better meet this growing demand, Leeds City Council sought to enhance its Social, Emotional, and Mental Health (SEMH) educational provision by building three new schools strategically located to serve the City’s entire population.

Together, they enable more young people’s needs to be met closer to home, saving them from having to travel out of the city to access the learning environment they need.

The bespoke design of the new schools is based on the successful educational model adopted at Barnsley’s Springwell Academy, with learning environments designed specifically for specialist SEMH provision.

Springwell Academy, Leeds

Springwell Academy, Leeds

Springwell Academy, Leeds

Springwell Academy, Leeds

The project’s main challenge was to bring together the concurrent design of three similar facilities with a single deadline while maximising repeatability and standardisation. Hoare Lea engaged with Leeds City Council and the academy on a regular basis as early as possible which meant a clear and agreed brief and design from the beginning.

Hoare Lea progressed the design of one school which was then thoroughly interrogated as part of its quality management process, before design was started on the remaining schools. This ultimately meant a robust design proposal for all three sites in a relatively short timescale.