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Fri June 18 2021

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Morgan Sindall picked for £12m SEND school in Oxford

20 Aug 20 Morgan Sindall Construction has won a contract to build a £12m school for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) on the outskirts of Oxford.

Orion Academy will be built by Morgan Sindall
Orion Academy will be built by Morgan Sindall

Oxfordshire County Council appointed Morgan Sindall to build the 108-place school through the Department for Education construction framework.

The building will provide a new home for the Orion Academy, which is one of six SEND schools in Oxfordshire operated by The Gallery Trust. It will be built on the site of the former Northfield School on Knights Road.

Having been found inadequate by Ofsted in November 2018, Northfield School became an academy on 1st February 2020, and was re-named Orion Academy as part of the conversion process. Plans for the larger, specially-designed facility will allow the Orion Academy to more than double its intake of pupils, which ranges from ages 10-16, with an accompanying increase in staffing numbers.

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The build will be divided into two phases. The first, which started recently, involves the construction of the main single-storey 2,700 square metre building. It will comprise 14 general classrooms: 12 for pupils aged 10-16 and two for students aged 16-18. This phase of the project is scheduled to complete in time for the new school term in 2021.

Following completion of phase one, the school will transfer into the new building, with the old structure then demolished and turned into playing field, with all-weather pitch, tarmac multi-use games area, grass pitch and running track. The second phase should complete early in 2022.

James York, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We’re well versed in designing and building these schools, and have taken the time to co-create our approach with experienced teachers, senior leaders and policymakers from within the sector. Success hinges on early collaboration with all of the stakeholders involved, and awareness of the important, nuanced design choices which render spaces suitable for a range of additional needs.”

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