Welcome to the latest edition of our Special Schools Development Newsletter.
Since our last update work has continued in close partnership with schools and local communities, to ensure we have sufficient special places across the county for our children and young people to access a high-quality education closer to home.
Activity at the Silverwood Rowde campus in the north of the county is moving into an exciting new phase, as work begins to prepare the site for the construction of the new classroom block that will bring capacity up to 350 places in the 2023/24 academic year.
Meanwhile, in the south a significant landmark has been reached with the confirmation of the former University Technical College in Salisbury as the chosen site for the new special free school (subject to planning permission), and the appointment of a lead contractor to take forward the design and redevelopment of the site.
Read on to find out more!
We will send these newsletters out regularly, to keep you posted on developments. We hope you find them helpful and informative and if you have any feedback about what you would like included in them, please email email@example.com
Silverwood School, Rowde campus
Construction to start on the new classroom block at the Rowde campus
In our last newsletter we updated you on the approval of the planning application to create 350 places for children with special education needs at the Silverwood Rowde campus from September 2023. Approval was subject to meeting a number of conditions prior to the start of construction works, including measures to minimise the impact on local roads and to protect the rare ecology at the site.
We are pleased to let you know that all these conditions have now been met, including arrangements for a manually operated traffic light system to control the flow of construction traffic, and the relocation of our resident rare bat species to a safer spot.
Work will now commence on the new classroom block, specialist teaching spaces, hydrotherapy pool and sport and play areas, starting with the preparation of the site so building work can begin this March. All the while maintaining our commitment to increasing the biodiversity of the site, including the recent planting of over 350 trees within the school grounds
In keeping with the principle of co-production that has underpinned and informed the development of the Rowde campus from the start, the last few months have seen our architects, building contractors, information technology specialists and others working closely with staff and pupils on the design of the school environment.
Through a series of school engagement meetings, they have had a chance to give feedback on how they want their school to work, look and feel, so that as well as providing much needed SEND places it is also a safe, welcoming, and inspiring educational experience.
Staff and pupils have told us how they want their school to look and function, including having their say on layouts, colour schemes and materials for the dining areas (above) and classrooms (below).
Silverwood School Council meets for the first time
Earlier this year, student representatives and staff from Chippenham, Rowde and Trowbridge campuses, met as a Silverwood School Council body, for the first time, face to face. It was a fantastic opportunity to come together, and the Upper School Rowde students really enjoyed sharing their campus.
Ben Silsby, Senior Sustainability Manager from Willmott Dixon, contractors for the build at the site, came to address the council and talk about student involvement in the new build, so we’re considering proposals for projects that will help to include everybody on all sites in the creation of a shared Silverwood School environment. These are just a few things the student representatives shared:
Lincoln was happy in the open space and being able to climb.
“I liked playing guitar in the music room.”
Mirren - I liked showing off the music room and DT where we make things. Please can we visit another school site?
Salisbury Academy for Inspirational Learning (SAIL)
++ Salisbury SEND Free School hits key milestone after year of progress ++
In our last newsletter we updated you on the identification of the former University Technical College (UTC) site in Salisbury as the preferred location for a new free special school, and on the work underway to appoint a contractor to take forward the re-development of the site.
The Salisbury Academy for Inspirational Learning (SAIL), as it is proposed the new school will be known, will offer specialist education support in the south of the county, with a focus on children and young people with autistic spectrum conditions and those with social and emotional and mental health needs.
The UTC has now been confirmed (subject to planning permission) as the location of the new school, and Tilbury Douglas is appointed as the project’s approved building contractor. This is a key milestone in the aspiration to have the school open and ready for its first learners in September 2023.
Tilbury Douglas has been working closely with all parties involved: the Department for Education which is responsible for the development of the site, Reach South Academy Trust which will manage the new school and Wiltshire Council on all aspects of the internal and external refurbishment We look forward to sharing detailed plans in due course