After hearing about Thorns involvement with improving the facilities at Ox Close School, The Oaks School Assistant Head Teacher, Mrs. Helen Crawford, appealed to Sandra Robertson-Wright from Thorn Academy of Light to help the school improve its Active Zone facilities.
Sandra passed the appeal to colleagues Martin Thompson and Terry Carmichael for approval and in conjunction with Thorn Academy of Light, Thorn Lighting agreed to supply all the luminaires and donate employees time, including Steve Gleghorn and Jeff Skeen from S.E.A.S (NE) Ltd a contracting partner to assess the school, and design and install an appropriate solution.
The Active Zone at The Oaks School uses lighting controlled by children to help them learn thorough cause and effect. Steve therefore identified Thorns Band range of LED luminaires, which offer amber, blue, red and green colour-change technology, as the answer to an enhanced learning environment.
Although the school had only asked for help to improve the Active Zone, the Thorn team also improved the schools multifunctional conference room, which was dark and gloomy with no natural light. The new lighting solution incorporates handheld controllers for the teachers, so theres no risk of disruption to classes. The College range of curved linear fluorescent luminaires offer specific light control and impact resistance.
Mrs Crawford says: Interactive spaces are essential for our young people, especially for those with profound and complex learning difficulties. The young people are working predominantly at a sensory level. They are learning to make sense of the world around them and understand that they can have an impact on their environment. We use the Active Zone for pupils to learn these skills in a safe, supportive and multi-sensory environment. Although our Active Zone had good facilities to promote physical development, it was inadequate as a learning area.
The Thorn team quickly understood the need for interaction and control as well as improved lighting. They became very excited and began to create a new scheme. The new lighting itself is sharp and bright with well defined colour. The installation team also spent considerable time ensuring that the fittings were angled for maximum effect.
The switches to control the lighting are large, robust and have an unusual rocker mechanism. Our pupils can use them without risk and with huge enjoyment. The pupils are learning to control and interact with their environment, understand cause and effect and colour match. They can also explore shadow and light, colour mixing and develop numeracy and communication skills.
As for our conference room, this was not a space that we had considered for improvement as our focus was on improving the areas used by our pupils. However, the team from Thorn immediately recognised how inadequate the lighting was and suggested they could improve our conference room too. They were able to provide us with a lighting scheme that has six levels of lighting. The lights themselves are cool and safe, and will lock into position and time out to save energy.
The new lighting in the conference room is brilliant in every sense of the word. My colleagues and I have already been sneaking in to do our own work in there when it is free and the difference the lighting scheme has made to meetings is tremendous. Our new lighting schemes have had a significant impact on both staff and pupils. We are so grateful for the resource, time and effort that Thorn and Thorn Academy of Light have put into the project.
Martin Thompson says: When Mrs Crawford approached us, we were only too pleased to help. We thoroughly enjoyed working with The Oaks School and relished the creativity we were able to inject into this project. We certainly had as much fun designing new lighting schemes for the Active Zone and conference room as I know the pupils and staff will have in using them.