The new facility will provide up to 400 places for SEND pupils aged from early years to post-16

Willmott Dixon has been selected by Wiltshire Council as its construction partner to build a school that provides up to 400 places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The £33m investment will provide state-of-the-art learning facilities for SEND pupils in north Wiltshire by bringing Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowdeford schools together as one maintained school over three sites. They will amalgamate from 1 September 2020.

Procured via the SCF framework, Willmott Dixon will oversee work to build a school on the Rowdeford site that provides up to 400 places for SEND pupils aged from early years to post-16, with work scheduled to start in summer 2021 and complete by September 2023.

Prior to that, Willmott Dixon will work with Wiltshire Council to prepare the project to start on site, with a focus to maximise employment and training opportunities within Wiltshire during construction and ensure the use of local supply chains to support the regional economy.

The new facilities will operate as a “school within a school”, involving a community of small teaching clusters that will provide a range of specialist teaching spaces, therapeutic support, and quiet dining.

Each cluster will be designed to offer plenty of space to move around while maximising natural daylighting and ventilation to create an airy feel.

The clusters will be designed as a standalone school provision for early years, primary, secondary and post-16. In addition there will be a hydrotherapy pool and outdoor learning provision. The new facilities both internally and externally will be fully accessible for all pupils at the school.

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet member for Children, Education and Skills said:

“This is a major step forward in ensuring we have sufficient places for all our SEND children in the north of Wiltshire. The involvement of children from all three sites and the wider school community was included in the contract as their views are important to us.
“The work will create a number of new classrooms, areas and facilities which will really complement learning. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the school community across all three sites and involving the children in the design as we move forward.”

Richard Poulter, Willmott Dixon managing director for the Central South region says,

“Willmott Dixon has a long established track-record of working in Wiltshire, which includes building Wiltshire College Chippenham Campus recently. We are also well equipped to build during Covid-19 having adjusted our projects to meet the Site Operating Procedures to ensure for social distancing.
“We are proud to be involved in providing these facilities to provide SEND pupils with the very best environment to learn and develop.”