Priory School is a Local Authority Maintained Community School for young people aged 11 – 19 with moderate to severe learning difficulties, many of their students also have a diagnosis of Autism. Following their recent Ofsted short inspection, Priory School continues to be recognised as a ‘Good’ school in all aspects of their provision.
At Priory School, they passionately believe that all young people with special educational needs and disabilities are entitled to access outstanding learning within their local community and they are committed to setting standards of excellence in special education that achieve the highest aspirational outcomes for all of their students.
Their new, purpose built school building is located in Hermitage Road, Upper Norwood and includes a dedicated Food Technology Preparation Kitchen, an ICT suite, Immersive Room, Gym, Lego Therapy Room, Therapy Centre, Outdoor Learning area and a Forest School which provides students with opportunities to flourish and learn new skills in a variety of learning environments outside of the classroom. The school further benefits from a purpose built Theatre Studio enabling their students to fully explore their dance, drama and creative talents in a realistic working performance space.
Their Post 16 provision provides students with their own Common Room and a fully equipped ‘Life Skills Flat’ that enables them to practice and develop both their social and independent living skills in preparation for adult life. They have also developed a wide range of work experience opportunities for Key Stage 5 learners that include hospitality, retail, farm work, hairdressing, etc. within the local community.
Priory School has been open for four years and in that time, this modern, purpose-built building has had no branding except for a logo outside on the school wall. The school lacked an identity and a place to be proud of for the students and the staff. The facilities within the school are fantastic but the warmth of the environment, although functional, had a cold, unfriendly and stark appearance.
All schools are important learning environments and they need to stimulate the children and give them a sense of belonging, particularly within the special needs criteria. Pylon Design were asked to develop a brand that gave them a presence but was also sympathetic to the needs of the students. Priory School wanted to introduce a Floor Level Indicator to inform visitors and parents as to where they are when they come out of the left or reach the top of the stairs. With the new brand developing, Priory School commissioned Pylon Design to create concepts to further enhance the brand and improve the functionality within the school.
Faced with white, clinical walls that had no personality, Pylon Design suggested a radical approach to the Floor Level Indicators that would utilise the strong corporate brand which was developing but also give the school a real identity and a WOW factor. Pylon proposed to cover the suggested walls completely with wall vinyls depicting the floor level, the appropriate corporate illustrations and the relevant colour associated with that floor. It was a bold suggestion but the visual concepts demonstrated not only the informational graphics required but illustrations and class names that look attractive and enhance the area with a real warmth and identity. The solution has been a huge success with parents, teachers and the students.