SEMH Leeds Schools.

United Kingdom

Ian Cowley, Partner at Hoare Lea

Project Lead:
Ian Cowley

Specialist spaces for Leeds’ young people.

Leeds City Council is enhancing its Social, Emotional, and Mental Health (SEMH) educational facilities by providing three new schools strategically located to serve the entire city. Together, they will 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 design of the new schools is based on the successful educational model adopted in Barnsley at the Springwell Academy.


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. Having been appointed at feasibility stage, we were able to engage with Leeds City Council and the academy on a regular basis as early as possible. We also made the most of our ability to understand the needs of the users. Together, these approaches meant we could agree a clear brief and influence the design right from the beginning.

Maximising Revit.

We progressed the design of one school using Revit to an appropriate level of detail. This was thoroughly interrogated as part of our Quality Management (QM) process before we commenced the design on the remaining schools. Our planning and Revit capability allowed us to produce a robust design proposal in a relatively short timescale and meet the common deadline for all three schools.

These specially designed learning places are fit for the future and will radically improve the learning, support, and outcomes for some of the city’s most vulnerable children.

Key Figures
3 Schools strategically located to serve the entire Leeds area
3:8 Staff-to-pupil ratio in teaching spaces