From education to employment

Morgan Sindall Construction ramps up progress at Barnet SEN School

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Northern Home Counties business has begun work on site at The Windmill School in Barnet to improve the number of quality SEN places in the region. 

Being delivered on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and Barnet Special Education Trust, The Windmill School will be an all-age school for up to 90 pupils aged 5-18 with a primary diagnosis of autism, becoming the first publicly funded specialist school for autism in Barnet. It is being developed by senior leaders from Oak Lodge School in East Finchley, supported by a team of specialist academics and education consultants.

The Windmill School will complement the existing local offer of special schools and autism specific provisions in mainstream schools, to provide places for children whose autism is the major barrier to their learning and who would find the sensory aspects of those environments too challenging for successful progress in their learning.

Morgan Sindall will deliver a three-storey structure which will span across 2,900 sq m. Finished works will include primary and secondary general teaching spaces, laboratory space, food tech suites, sensory rooms, fully functioning kitchen, multi-use hall and a rooftop play area. 

As part of the retrofitting work being completed, an innovative Natural Ventilation with Heat Recycling (NVHR) system will be installed across the new school, with 110m2 of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels installed on the roof.

Morgan Sindall’s Northern Home Counties business has a proven track record in delivering SEN school facilities across the region. The tier one contractor has previously worked with Barnet Special Education Trust to deliver Oak Lodge School and Edmonton Academy Trust to deliver Salmon’s Brook SEND school in London Borough of Enfield in 2022.

Having successfully delivered previous SEN projects, Morgan Sindall will continue to utilise its Intelligent Solutions approach to ensure tailored results are created for the benefit of the end users. This has meant extra consideration has been taken in the construction throughout mechanical, electrical, plumbing and heating (MEPH) choices, including layout of specialist teaching and corridor spaces, ceiling and wall finishes, acoustic performance and colour choice.  

As part of Morgan Sindall’s commitment to social value, it will work closely with nearby Barnet College to develop the skills and provide opportunities to young people in the local area. This will include welcoming work experience students and offering construction workshops. 

It will also be working with social enterprise Nuneaton Signs, Tarem Services in providing local trades and labour and waste management consultancy Encore Environmental Limited to deliver value to where it is most needed in the community.

David Rowsell, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Northern Home Counties, said:

“There is a significant demand for high quality SEN places right now, which means that the region needs tailored educational facilities that can provide the best possible education and opportunities. We’re aware of the invaluable role specialist SEN schools such as The Windmill School play in delivering the support that communities require. The whole of the Northern Home Counties team is thrilled to be working on such an important project and knows what a difference it will make for the Barnet area.”

Lynda Walker, CEO of Barnet Special Education Trust, commented on the delight and excitement felt as The Windmill School construction works were well underway. 

Ginny D’Odorico, Designate Headteacher at Windmill School, said:

 “As a long-standing autism practitioner in Barnet, I have seen the impact on our young people when they are not in the right setting. The whole vision for The Windmill school was written to ensure we effectively meet the needs of our autistic children, who I believe have enormous potential in the right environment. 

“Morgan Sindall have worked alongside us, together with the architects, on each element of the design phase. By combining our specialist knowledge of autism and education with the skills and experience of the architects, and the project team at Morgan Sindall, The Windmill School will offer a unique hub in the community with autism at the core, providing a centre of excellence that places our children and their families at the forefront of our work.”

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