Morgan Sindall Construction grows new SEMH school in Essex woodland


Morgan Sindall Construction has completed work on a comprehensive refurbishment and expansion project at Ramsden Hall Academy in Billericay, Essex.

The transformational project was delivered by the main contractor for the Department for Education (DfE), and is managed by the Multi-Academy Trust, Parallel Learning Trust, whose mission is to build cultures of ambition for pupils from all backgrounds. Through this project, the Trust aims to contribute to a vibrant population of thinkers, voters, and entrepreneurs, especially within those groups historically excluded by deprivation and low attainment.

Ramsden Hall Academy works with up to 100 secondary-age and Year 6 male students who have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) for Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.

Works included the construction of a brand new three-storey residential block which will provide beds for 40 students, bolstering the academy’s ability to develop the pupil’s independent living skills.

Alongside the residential area, Morgan Sindall Construction delivered an extension to the existing teaching block, creating seven new classrooms, seven new withdrawal rooms, a learning resource centre, main assembly hall, dining hall, conference room and four new special educational needs (SEN) therapy rooms.

Externally, a therapeutic sensory garden space has been created, with a mix of plants and trees that promote biodiversity and create an inspiring environment for the students to work, socialise, relax, and feel safe.

Given the academy’s remote, wooded setting, the site team took significant steps to ensure the preservation of the local nature and wildlife, working closely with ecologists and carrying out extensive surveys and an archaeological dig where appropriate.

The project created 86p of social value for every pound of the project’s value. This included the upskilling of the community, with four apprentices working 87 weeks between them on the project and engaging with a further 12 students from Ramsden Hall Academy, inspiring them to begin careers in construction. In addition, 37% of the project value was spent with local SMEs, meaning the community significantly benefited financially.

Peter Whitmore, Managing Director for Morgan Sindall Construction’s East region, said: “We’re delighted to have handed over this significant project, providing Ramsden Hall Academy with the space and facilities within which to provide a first-class education for those more vulnerable pupils for years to come.

“We have enjoyed a close working relationship with the DfE, the Academy and our wider partners throughout this project. This collaboration was an important factor in our ability to deliver the work on schedule despite it taking place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While working on the new school we’re really pleased to have been able to create a positive community impact through local job creation and engagement with the school users.”

 Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex office has been appointed to three major Essex school expansions, totalling £9.5 million.

Morgan Sindall Construction has established a strong track record of transforming lives and delivering schools in Essex with Essex County Council and the DfE. This partnership has been built up over many years of working together and has seen the delivery of schemes such as Colne Community School & College in Brightlingsea, Clacton County High School in Clacton-on-Sea and The Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh.

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