Morgan Sindall Construction has won a tender to deliver a new 108-place special needs school for children in Blackbird Leys in Oxford.

Oxfordshire County Council appointed the main contractor to the £12 million project through the Department for Education construction framework.

It will provide a new home for the Orion Academy, double the size of the previous one, will be built on the same site, close to the Kassam Stadium, and will be operated by The Gallery Trust. The academy was known as Northfield School until February 2020.

The new school will include 14 classrooms, specialist rooms for science, art, music and design plus space for life skills such as cooking and other domestic tasks.

A space in the middle of the school called The Bridge will act as a therapeutic centre and social area. There will also be a large dining area and separate games hall and gym.

Outside there will be an all-weather pitch, multi-use games area, tarmac court, and a grass pitch with running track.

Completion is due in early 2022.

James York, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Providing modern, considered learning environments is a vital component to ensuring pupils with SEND can develop and thrive.

“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.

“We’re incredibly pleased to be working with the council and The Gallery Trust on this project and look forward to seeing it develop.”

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