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Ropemakers Academy

ECE have completed the project for Ropemakers Academy, a new SEMH (Social, Emotional, and Mental Health) school in Hailsham, East Sussex.

The three-storey school provides space for 80 students aged 4-16, and caters for children with SEMH and ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder.) This project forms part of East Sussex County Council’s wider strategy for providing specialist teaching facilities across the county, being run as a free school by an independent provider.

Dr Jonty Clark OBE, the CEO of The Beckmead Trust, said:

“In all my years I have never seen a design that takes the needs of the children so seriously, I can clearly see the care and attention that has gone into the design.”

Ropemakers Academy includes an outdoor games court and playgrounds, with internal primary and secondary teaching areas complemented by specialist therapy facilities.

The material and colour pallet was chosen to provide variety and interest whilst avoiding over-stimulation for pupils. The feature entrance and signage complements the rhythm of the façade, which is offset by the clean walls of the projecting PE hall.

The school is situated on a 2 hectare sloping field, which required significant regrading and drainage works due to the geology of the site. Careful consideration was taken to minimise any potential impact on the site’s existing ecology, including newts, bats and birds.

Simon Hawthorne, The Ropemaker’s Academy Beckmead Trust Headteacher comments:

It’s looking brilliant. I’m not going to lie, when I showed my first parent and pupil around I had to suppress my excitement!

This project provides a welcoming, high-quality environment, supporting both pupils and staff in a new bespoke setting.

Photography by Peter Langdown, courtesy of Willmott Dixon