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Willmott Dixon wins £16m SEND school in Lincolnshire

Published: 20th January 2023

St lawrence send school mid 3

Team Lincolnshire ambassador Willmott Dixon has been chosen to build its fifth special education needs and disabilities (SEND) school for Lincolnshire County Council.

It has been procured through Pagabo’s Major Works Framework to build the £16m St Lawrence School in Horncastle, which was designed by project architect the Kier Group. 

The new school will be located next to the original one, which will remain open during construction before being demolished when the new school is ready for the 2023-24 academic year. 

The school design implements a fabric-first approach to deliver an improved U-value, surpassing the standard found in most schools. Further sustainability features include air source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points. 

The school is part of the council’s wider £100m SEND school investment programme. Nick Heath, Director of Delivery in the Midlands at Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re pleased to be strengthening our relationship with Lincolnshire County Council on creating this future-proofed SEND school. 

“We take a consultative approach to projects, especially sustainable solutions. Initially, the council wanted to refurbish the existing school, but the work required to refurbish and extend it wouldn’t have been value for money in the long term. We therefore recommended the creation of this new facility. 

“The school’s sustainable measures will help to future-proof it against upcoming government targets, while also allowing the council to incorporate sustainable solutions in the future with minimised costs and disruption.” 

The new school will include a health hub offering physiotherapy, soft play and sensory areas, as well as a full education suite including science labs, design and technology, and art classrooms, allowing for pupils to complete a full curriculum offering. Essential life and social skills areas have been added to allow the children to learn essential skills for when they leave education. 

The new building will provide hall spaces with associated changing and hygiene suites for all needs, allowing for rebound therapy and general sports, and can be used for multiple functions including dining. The profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) suites are state of the art and offer direct covered external play spaces, ensuring the ability for all children to have access to safe and suitable outside spaces. 

Willmott Dixon is working with Lincolnshire on several developments across the county as part of the council’s £100m investment to improve SEND support for local children and young people. The strategy will bring major improvements, increasing the number of school places to meet demand, improving provision to meet all types of needs and reducing long travel times for students. 

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell OBE, Executive Member for Children’s Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “One of the council's top priorities is ensuring all local children get a great start in life, and a good education is vital to that. That's why the authority is investing around £100m in improving and expanding special schools across Lincolnshire. 

“Despite the challenges we’ve faced over the last few years, we’ve continued to make steady progress, with a wide range of improvements already completed, most recently in Boston, Bourne, Louth and Spilsby. I’m delighted pupils in Horncastle will soon be able to benefit from this programme as well. 

“The new school will offer much better facilities and will mean more pupils will be able to attend their local school, rather than having to travel large distances for their education – something that will be of great benefit to both the children and their families.” 

Jonathan Parker, Head of Construction at Pagabo, said: “It’s brilliant to see progress on this significant project for Lincolnshire County Council and to have Willmott Dixon doing what it does best on site. Not only is it a project that will make a difference to the lives of many in the region, it is a project that exemplifies all that’s great about industry collaboration and striving for high quality design standards fit for the future.”