The extension and refurbishment project will enable the school to offer improved specialist facilities to 127 pupils, aged between four and 19 years old

Willmott Dixon has secured a £7.2m project to extend The Priory School in Spalding, Lincolnshire, as part of Lincolnshire County Council’s wider £86 million SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities) school investment programme.

Procured through SCAPE, the extension and refurbishment project will enable the school to offer improved specialist facilities to 127 pupils, aged between four and 19 years old. This will help the school transition from an 11-19 age ambulant school to an all-through, all-needs facility. This project is the fourth scheme being delivered by Willmott Dixon within the region, which combined will deliver 500 additional SEND school places.

Building on the school’s existing setup, Willmott Dixon will deliver a new site layout to cater for all needs and all through, including nine new classrooms, in addition to a new social recreation space, life skills room, increased WC provision of suitable need, meeting space and ancillary staff facilities. The project will also incorporate carefully considered design elements including minor refurbishment of the existing school building to provide a new plant room and adjacent staff spaces.

Nick Heath, director of delivery at Willmott Dixon, said:

“We’re pleased to have broken ground on our fourth SEND school project for Lincolnshire County Council. The scheme is very important in meeting the needs of all young children in the area and they can be certain that we are committed to delivering a design that facilitates the best education for every pupil.
“We have a proud history in the education sector and consistently bring new ideas to the table during the consultation process, we always aim to leave a lasting legacy and maximise the value possessed by our skilled workforce. This project has been designed to support the local community from all angles, so students, staff, parents, local residents, and all other stakeholders receive maximum consideration in relation to their individual needs.”

Various benefits beyond the end product will be brought to the area as the project will provide £375,000 worth of social value. This will include supporting local people into employment and providing NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) students with employability skills and training opportunities.

Nick continued:

“As with all our projects, sustainability for people and the environment is a major focus. Our ‘Now or Never’ strategy guides everything we are doing to ensure a greener future and outlines how by 2030 all our new buildings will achieve net-zero operational carbon. At The Priory we are installing electric vehicle charging stations for onsite teams to travel sustainably.”

Cllr Mrs Patricia Bradwell OBE, executive member for children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council, said:

"The council wants 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.
"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.
"Despite the pandemic, we're making excellent progress. Following completed improvements at schools in Boston, Spalding and Grantham, works are currently underway in Louth, Spilsby and Bourne. I'm delighted that we're now in a position to start the improvements at The Priory School as well."

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE said,

“Willmott Dixon and Lincolnshire County Council have made a firm commitment to ensuring the facilities they can provide for SEND education are second to none. This is a welcome step to ensure the education system in the county is fully inclusive and provides the highest standard of amenities to create a fantastic learning experience for those pupils with additional needs. SCAPE are proud to have accelerated this extension to Spalding - a project that has social value at its heart and that will leave a lasting positive legacy.”

The additional school capacity being delivered by Willmott Dixon within Lincolnshire is particularly large considering class sizes within SEND schools usually consist of anywhere between eight and twelve students. The three other projects recently completed and currently onsite include Eresby School in Spilsby, Willoughby School in Bourne and St Bernards school in Louth.

The project aims to complete by 1 September 2022 to align with the academic year and to minimise disruption to current students.

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