Contractors get started on upgrading Peterborough area special school

The upgraded facilities planned for Bourne's Willoughby School. EMN-210224-120429001The upgraded facilities planned for Bourne's Willoughby School. EMN-210224-120429001
The upgraded facilities planned for Bourne's Willoughby School. EMN-210224-120429001
Work has started on site to develop and reconfigure a Peterborough area special school.

National contractor Willmott Dixon has started on site at Willoughby School in Bourne, as part of Lincolnshire County Council’s wider Special Educational Needs and Disabilities school programme.

The Bourne school is one of two £6m projects, also involving Eresby School in Spilsby, making up part of the region’s £86 million special education school investment, which aims to improve SEND support for local children and young people by reducing travel time, enhancing provisions, and increasing school places.

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The Willoughby School project, which is scheduled to be completed in November 2021, will see the construction of a new modular building incorporating classroom space and hygiene suites, along with a dining hall, nurse and physio spaces. Externally, works include a car park extension and the remodelling of a grass play area.

The new school extension will also provide Willoughby School with the ability to offer increased provision for Profound and Multiple Learning Disability classrooms, in addition to specialist subject spaces including food technology, science, and design and technology.

Nick Heath, director of delivery at Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be working on both of these amazing schemes. With only 20 special education schools currently operating in Lincolnshire, we want to do everything we can to increase school places across the county to allow students of all ages easier access to the education they deserve.

“Despite currently being in a national lockdown, the team will continue to operate by adhering to stringent safety procedures and enhanced social distancing measures. This optimisation of risk management means that we will be able to deliver the project to the agreed timescales and improve educational facilities for students across Lincolnshire as soon as possible.”

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Mr Heath continued: “AWe pride ourselves on leaving a legacy in the local communities we work among; therefore we are delighted to be helping Lincolnshire County Council to establish a school system that provides education that is accessible to all who need it.”

The team has also committed to provide £800,000 worth of ‘social value’ across the two schemes. This will include career mentoring, mock interviews and CV advice to enhance employment opportunities in the local community, as well as work experience placements and apprenticeships. Opportunities will also be created for Lincolnshire-based SMEs or voluntary, community and social enterprises through local spend, expert business advice, equipment and resource donation.

The contractor will also be supporting initiatives to reduce crime, working with local youth groups and engaging people in health interventions or wellbeing initiatives within the community. Willmott Dixon has also committed to making the area surrounding the projects a better place to live by creating and managing local green infrastructure to increase biodiversity and the cleanliness of green spaces.

Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive member for children’s services, said: “We want to ensure that all children can access high-quality education, as near to their family and local community as possible. To help achieve that, we’re investing £86m in improving our special schools over the next few years.

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“Our ambitious programme will mean more pupils with SEND can attend a local school rather than having to travel large distances for their education, which will be of great benefit to both the children and their families.

“I’m delighted to see construction getting underway at Eresby School and Willoughby School, and I look forward to seeing the projects progress.”

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