Carpet Can Cater For Special Needs People
Abby Chandler, marketing manager of Heckmondwike FB, explains what specifiers should consider when choosing floorcoverings to cater for pupils with special educational needs (SEN):
CARPET is a popular choice of floorcovering for SEN schools, but it is crucial for specifiers to ensure that their chosen product provides comfort, safety and durability.
Safety is a key concern in SEN environments, as pupils are particularly vulnerable to slips, trips and falls. The Department for Children, Schools and Families recommends anti-slip and impact-resistant floorcoverings in Building Bulletin 102, the non-statutory design guidance of accommodation for disabled children and children with special educational needs for special school and mainstream school projects.
At Mark Rutherford School in Bedfordshire, for example, 240sq m of fibre bonded carpet was specified by Mark Ellerby Architects for the Nightingale Unit, a specialist provision for pupils on the autism spectrum. Fibre bonded carpet was chosen for its anti-slip properties, whilst the bright colours offered allowed them to create visual contrast between the carpet and the walls to help children move around the school safely, as required by Building Regulations Part M.
Colour is also recognised as helping to create tranquil, ordered and calm environments for SEN pupils (Building Bulletin 102). The Nightingale Unit has been praised for its use of colour and curves, which helps pupils to identify different areas and encourages a sense of safety. shades were chosen for their calming tones, which were used in the corridors, classrooms, sensory room and staff room to create a series of spaces that can be easily understood and remembered.
In the sensory room, in particular, fibre bonded carpet will not ravel or fray, allowing contractor Richardson and Peat to cut the carpet on site to create a circular design. The durability of fibre bonded carpet, which is able to withstand areas of heavy wear and tear, is ideal for SEN environments.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families recommends that flooring in these environments is easy to maintain, impact resistant and hard wearing, to extend the life of the floorng and ensure that maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.
Careful consideration of the properties of different floorcoverings is essential to ensure that the needs of pupils are catered for in SEN schools. Referring closely to Part M and Building Bulletin 102 and working with a carpet manufacturer with a comprehensive range and expertise in this area, will ensure correct choices are made that have a significant impact on calming behaviour.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.