Residential school for disabled children gets the go-ahead

Children with complex needs will soon be able to access an exciting new learning facility in North Tyneside, after plans for a residential school and hydrotherapy pool were given the go-ahead.

North Tyneside Council’s planning committee last week approved the Percy Hedley Foundation’s application to improve and extend its specialist facilities for disabled young people at West Lane in Killingworth.

Designed by Gateshead-based Gradon Architecture, the new development at the existing campus will provide additional residential accommodation integrated on one-site, including a 24-bedroom home and state of the art hydrotherapy pool.

Percy Hedley Foundation is now looking to raise £5million to ensure the new integrated campus will be completed by September 2015.

Carole Harder, Chief Executive at The Percy Hedley Foundation, said:

“We have been planning this development for some time and our timescale is ambitious, but at last we are able to say that the development can begin in earnest. Our aim as the region’s leading disability charity supporting children, young people, adults and their families, is to provide high quality services that will enable each individual to achieve their potential.”

“We can’t do this on our own and with support from all the companies involved we are on our way. As a charity we do need local companies and individuals to help us raise the five million pounds it will take to see our plans become a reality for disabled children.”

Students at the Percy Hedley School in Killingworth follow the National Curriculum which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. However, the school, college and living accommodation currently operates across split sites. This has created many challenges over the years around access, cost, and transport.

Thoughtfully designed, the new campus has been tailored to meet student’s needs. As well as delivering responsive environments to improve learning, the scheme features wide corridors and terraces to enable multiple wheelchair use. Living spaces also include accessible kitchens, quiet areas for study and individual bedrooms.

Graham McDarby, design director of Gradon Architecture, said:

“To gain planning approval for a project that will benefit families and enhance disabled children’s learning experiences for years to come is just fantastic.”

“The Percy Hedley Foundation continues to lead the way in delivering specialist educational support services for disabled children and we’re delighted to help them in their goal to improve more lives. Our integrated design puts students, their families and staff first and we have tailored the site specifically to respond to their needs. We’re committed to delivering architecture with care and efficiency and our carefully thought out plans will ensure that every space and environment on the site will work hard for everyone.”

The project has also been supported by Portland Construction (structural and civil engineers), RPS (mechanical and electrical engineers) and project managers, Identity Consult.

Named SME of the Year at the annual 2014 North East Constructing Excellence Awards, Gradon Architecture has a track record for delivering architecture to improve people’s lives at home and abroad.

Based at NE40 Studios, a locally listed converted church in Ryton, the practice is currently working with developers and government departments in Mongolia to improve affordable housing provision for deprived Ger communities. Last year it designed the award-winning North East Autism Society’s New Warlands Farm scheme – an agricultural training centre for people with autism in County Durham.

If you’re interested in fundraising or would like to support the development of the new West Lane campus for disabled children and their families in Killingworth, visit or email fundraising(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)

To find out more about the architectural services that Gradon Architecture provides, visit or follow @gradon_arch on Twitter.

Ref: 61955