Mark Henderson

21st January 2015

New Leeds School Set to Become a Leading Light


WORK is now underway on a brand new £2.1 million, state of the art school in Cookridge that will become home to one of the government’s first ‘Free Schools’ in the UK to cater specifically for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or related Communication Disorders.

The Lighthouse School, which covers a ground floor footprint of 1,525 square metres, is designed by Leeds based Brewster Bye Architects and Strategic Team Group is the project’s lead contractor. Located on the site of the former Cookridge Hospital, the work will see the Robert Arthington building completely restored, redesigned and transformed to accommodate up to 50 pupils, aged between 11 and 19 years.

When work completes later this year, the school will offer eight classrooms, a speech and language teaching room, an enterprise suite, therapy and fitness areas as well as food technology, drama, science, DT, ICT, vocations and arts facilities. The first floor will have a dedicated sixth form area as well as an area for teaching life-skills and the top floor will provide training and meeting space. The outdoor area will incorporate space for outside dining, a cycle track, outdoor fitness suite, sensory garden, horticulture area and a multi use games area.

Mark Henderson, a Director at Brewster Bye Architects, says: “We have specifically designed this school to be extremely practical as well as hugely inspiring. Wherever possible we are maintaining and restoring all the character features within the original building, which dates back to around 1900, and complementing them with modern elements such as large windows and folding sliding doors that will all combine to create a superb learning environment.”

Andy Coates, Construction Director at Strategic Team Group adds: “This is a superb project to be involved with that will ultimately benefit pupils throughout Leeds and beyond. It will also become a key feature in the regeneration of the rest of the former Cookridge Hospital site and we’re delighted that work is underway.”

Katie Parlett is Chair of Trustees and Governors at Lighthouse School and says: “Ever since The Lighthouse School opened in September 2012 at our current home in Woodhouse, we have been building a reputation for successfully delivering a curriculum that is relevant, functional, motivating and meet the needs of the individual student. This fantastic new building will enable us to take this to the next level and create a beacon of innovation and excellence in autism education.”

The Lighthouse is Yorkshire’s first special free school and is independent with state funding, is free to attend, and not controlled by a Local Authority. For further information visit

Lighthouse School Cookridge