Broomhayes College

Elegant, purpose-built design creates an environment perfectly tailored to the needs of young adults with autism

Broomhayes College
Broomhayes College
Broomhayes College

The new facilities at Broomhayes School are a safe, responsive and uplifting environment for Autistic Children.


The Client, the National Autistic Society (NAS), commissioned Gale & Snowden to design a series of new buildings and refurbish existing facilities at their Broomhayes site in Bideford, North Devon.


The brief was to work with the NAS and Broomhayes School to create a nurturing environment for young people with autism, a home and an educational facility crafted to the needs of the users and staff.


The commission included:

  • new build residential accommodation containing 12 student bedrooms and associated living, dining, kichen and staff support
  • post 16 college containing 4 classrooms, an IT suite, a lecture facility, a training kitchen and ancillary accommodation
  • adaptation of existing facilities to create a further 8 student bedrooms
  • landscaping design


Gale & Snowden’s familiarity with educational buildings and their expertise in school design enabled the practice to work with the NAS and bring a greater understanding of educational best practice to Broomhayes. The Client’s requirements were expanded to take on board the contemporary briefing standards employed at the time, in the DfES Building Bulletins (BB). Gale & Snowden and the NAS worked with specialist consultants at key stages of the design to ensure that the project accommodated the latest recommendations for buildings for those with autism.


The constructional details prepared by Gale & Snowden ensured:

  • high level of air tightness certification could be met
  • air permeability of 2.5 – 2.75 air changes per hour @50Pa
  • buildings are naturally ventilated
  • thermal performance is in excess of the requirements of the building regulations


NAS and Gale & Snowden explored a series of early feasibility design options. Buildings are small in scale and ‘homely’, have pitched roofs and employ a simple pallet of natural materials. All communal rooms are bright airy spaces 100% day lit and flooded with natural light from rooflights. The practice was able to call upon its wealth of experience in the field of sustainable design to advise on product specification across the school campus. Again, the practice’s familiarity with the briefing requirements for SEN schools and the associated robustness standards ensured that simple and appropriate and cost effective design solutions were delivered at Broomhayes.


Broomhayes College