Building for All- Willmott Dixon White Paper provides insight into SEND schools creation

willmott dixon white paper

Building for All, the Willmott Dixon white paper published in June, provides unique insight and learning for authorities developing a new generation of schools for pupils with special educational needs or disability (SEND)

The Willmott Dixon white paper features contributions from a range of stakeholders, from councils and architects to Willmott Dixon’s own team building SEND schools, who share what they have learnt in creating highly specialised (SEND) school accommodation.

SEND schools cater for ages 4 through to 19, and each carries a diverse range of needs that need to be met – for example, some pupils need lots of visual stimulation, while for others the opposite is true.

The spaces must accommodate physical and neurodiversity, extending to the construction process itself. Willmott Dixon has offers educational books and materials to involve the children in the construction process to encourage understanding, and even work experience for older pupils.

Findings are taken from Willmott Dixon’s SEND school projects in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire

“SEND schools are unlike any other project in the education sector,” said deputy managing director at Willmott Dixon, Nick Gibb. “The intricacies associated with each project require early stakeholder management and that’s one of the key considerations in this white paper.” Willmott Dixon white paper

Nick added: “This white paper, while citing the issues felt from many voices in the sector, also has a very human element by placing the end-users at the heart – which was important to us in capturing the essence of this work. We want to share how effective collaboration and community engagement can push forward the creation of spaces that offer an abundance of educational opportunities.”

Willmott Dixon is the principal contractor for a series of high-profile SEND developments across Lincolnshire, as part the county council’s £86m school programme aimed at resolving pent-up demand, including the recently opened Willoughby School in Bourne.

“Consistency is incredibly important”

Eileen McMorrow, SEND programme manager at Lincolnshire County Council, said:  “With an ‘all needs, all through’ approach, equity of provision is essential – if one school has significantly different facilities to another, there is the risk of parents and carers being drawn away from their nearest school, defeating the object of the approach. Consistency is incredibly important.

“Key to delivering a successful SEND project is having a team on our side that shares our vision. With Willmott Dixon, we have found a contractor that has come on this journey with us.”

Willmott Dixon is on track to have completed 15 SEND school projects across the Midlands region over the course of the past ten years, marking the company’s dedication to delivering this much needed provision for local communities and leaving a lasting legacy.


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