Construction work is well under way at a new multi-million pound special school which will benefit young people and families for years to come.
Lockdown has not halted building at the Mo Mowlam Academy which is being erected in Redcar opposite Redcar and Cleveland College on Corporation Road and is expected to be completed at the end of this year.
The academy will replace the Grangetown special school which was previously known as Pathways School and has a limited capacity of 66 pupils. The new school will be able to accommodate up to 100 primary and secondary school pupils.
At present more than 40 children in the borough with special needs have to be educated elsewhere. The fact that the school is more central for many pupils across the borough will also help improve transport issues.
Work began on the new school in February and it is expected it will be completed at the end of the year. The new building will provide modern state-of-the-art teaching spaces, specialist classrooms, a large hall, a soft play area and sensory calm rooms. In addition, the pupils will have access to extensive external areas including playing pitches and a multi-use games area, which are not currently available at the Grangetown facility.
The Mo Mowlam Academy is part of Horizons Specialist Academy Trust (HSAT) which supports four existing academies and a Sixth Form in Middlesbrough and Stockton. Horizons Specialist Academy Trust is providing the funding required to cover the installation of specialised doors, tinted glass, CCTV and the addition of customised block work. HSAT will also be providing the soft play area, sensory calming rooms, new furniture throughout and a range of new IT equipment such as computers and interactive white boards in every classroom and meeting rooms.
Councillor Wayne Davies, Cabinet Member for Economic Development/Councillor Alison Barnes, Cabinet Member for Children, said: “This will be a vital resource for the borough and especially these young people and their families who deserve the best possible education. It is good to see such fantastic progress being made on what is a positive development, especially in these challenging times of the lockdown.”
Principal of Mo Mowlam Academy, Rachel Glover, said “We are very excited and all the staff and children can’t wait to see the finished building. Our children deserve the very best facilities, and the new premises will enable our staff to provide further opportunities to benefit children, families and the local community.”
Anthony Potts, Project Manager at the Department for Education’s Priority School Building Programme, said: “This will be a crucial facility for so many children, young people and their families for many years to come.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Horizons Specialist Academy Trust, Elizabeth Horne CBE said: “This is a much needed provision for many of the most vulnerable children and young people in Redcar and Cleveland. Horizons Specialist Academy Trust is delighted to be part of this project. The work and contribution from colleagues and councillors at Redcar and Cleveland Council and the support provided throughout from the DfE, especially key personnel, has been greatly appreciated.”
Mark Gardham, Regional Director at Interserve Construction, said: “We are delighted to be delivering this new academy, which will provide greatly improved specialist facilities for students as well as an enhanced learning environment. Interserve Construction’s appointment on this project is a real testament to the expertise within our team and our excellent track record in delivering some of the best education facilities in the UK.”
Students from Redcar & Cleveland College considering a career in the construction industry have been involved in the building work. Redcar & Cleveland College’s Principal Jason Faulkner, said: “At Redcar and Cleveland College we are committed to giving our students the best opportunities possible. When we learnt about the development of The Mo Mowlam Academy in Redcar it seemed the ideal chance to work in partnership with the construction company, to provide work placements for our learners, giving them experience of a real working site.
“At the college we offer a wide range of construction trade courses and apprenticeship training, from bricklaying to joinery and plastering. To witness a building site going through each phase of development and how specialists from different trades work together is in itself a valuable experience for our students. The site’s location, just over the road from the college, has enabled us to further develop our industry links, and we look forward in the future to being able to welcome members of the construction team into the college to deliver guest lectures, sharing an insight into their experience in the trades.”
Marjorie “Mo” Mowlam was the MP for Redcar from 1987 to 2001 and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland helping to bring peace the province. She died in 2005, at the age 55 after suffering from a brain tumour.