Summerdown School – Projects

Summerdown School

Client: Department for Education / The Southfield Trust
Sector: Education
Size: 4,047m²
Value: £10 million
Location: Eastbourne
Status: Complete
Internal Team: Catherine Mulley
Stuart Stubbs

The fourth facility of The Southfield Trust, Summerdown School is a new free school in Eastbourne which completed in 2022.

The new learning environment educates up to 84 learners between the ages of five and 16 who have a diagnosis of autism and speech/communication needs (ASC), alongside a separate centre called the Southfield Centre which educates up to 51 learners with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

The vision for the School since the outset of the project was to make a ‘significant and positive difference to the lives of the children by inspiring them to learn, collaborate, contribute to their community and enjoy life’. The proposals were developed in accordance to this and offers effective teaching facilities, plus a range of internal and external play areas, a hydrotherapy pool, quiet calming rooms, physiotherapy, SEN therapy rooms, soft play and sensory rooms. The entire scheme maintains a simple yet efficient circulation and zoning strategy.

The main mass of the building is single storey, however the central ‘wing’ increases in scale to two storey and the 'east wing' houses the spacious main hall and dining which can double as space for parents evenings, school events and wider community use.

Summerdown School is shortlisted for a Constructing Excellence SECBE Award 2023 in the 'projects over £10m award' category.

It is an absolute privilege and a pleasure to be Principal Designate here at Summerdown and to celebrate the opening of this fantastic new school. Everyone has gone above and beyond to ensure the successful delivery of the project; it’s an incredible responsibility to know how much schools such as Summerdown can change the lives of both children who attend and their families alike.

Penny Kershaw - Summerdown School