May 26, 2023

Construction milestone celebrated at Essex SEN School

Contractors on roof at topping out ceremony

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex business has marked a key point in the renovation and extension of Cedar Hall, a specialist SEN school in Essex, with an official ‘topping out’ ceremony.

The event, which was attended by Rebecca Harris MP, was held on the roof of the new building alongside the school’s recently installed photovoltaic (PV) panels. Attendees then signed the panelling on the ground floor of the development to mark the occasion.

Other guests on the day included Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex area director Andy Harper-Rowe and key public officials from Essex County Council including Cllr Tony Ball, Cllr Beverly Egan, and Cllr Andrew Sheldon.

Morgan Sindall were appointed earlier in the year to deliver the £4.3 million project, which will see the school’s teaching facilities expand to accommodate an additional 80 students.

Procured through Essex County Council’s Construction Framework 2 (ECF2), the project is being delivered in partnership with Concertus Design and Property Consultants. ECF2 is a local government programme designed to rejuvenate elements of the local area to meet modern requirements, such as a growing demand for SEN facilities.

Scheduled to be ready for the beginning of the 2023/24 academic year, the development includes a new two-storey building comprised with admin space, five classrooms, art room, library, and a vehicle maintenance workshop to support the current curriculum.

As part of Morgan Sindall’s Intelligent Solutions approach, modern methods of construction (MMC) are being utilised throughout the project, in particular the use of Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs).

Cedar Hall School works with children aged 5-16 with moderate learning difficulties and additional needs. The design of the new spaces have been tailored to suit the needs of its students. This includes design features such as acoustically treating corridors to soften the noise created by air vents.

Cedar Hall SEN School is set to achieve an EPC rating of A*. An energy efficient building fabric, PV panels on the roof and an air source heating system will help the school achieve its sustainability goals.

Morgan Sindall has brought its proven record and expert insight to the Cedar Hall project, evidenced by its SEND Blueprint for Success report that was published last year. This accessible document uses evidence-backed best practice to advise anyone about to embark upon the design and delivery of a SEND school.

Andy Harper-Rowe, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction in Essex, said: “Recent projections have highlighted the urgent demand for more SEN facilities across the country that are tailored to the needs of their pupils. We are delighted to be delivering this high quality, sustainable expansion to Cedar Hall, that has been built with students front of mind.

“It has been a pleasure to work closely with Essex County Council and to gather together with so many of the project’s stakeholders to celebrate this key milestone and look forward to the benefits that this development will provide for the local community upon its completion.”

Liz Harris, Principal Architectural Designer for Concertus said: “We are pleased to be working with Morgan Sindall Construction and Essex County Council to deliver the Cedar Hall SEN school expansion. Although construction is ongoing, we are confident that the high-quality teaching facilities being provided, will be instrumental to the learning and development of children in the local community. We look forward to seeing the children enjoying the facilities in the not-so-distant future.”

Rebecca Harris, Member of Parliament for Castle Point, said: “This is a fantastic £4 million investment into the school that will go on to improve the education of pupils for many years to come. I was very impressed with the design and quality of the build so far. I was pleased to see that the new block was designed to be carbon neutral in operation, and the solar panels on the roof will help the school cut its future energy bills. I am looking forward to coming back when it is complete after the summer holidays and seeing the brand-new classrooms and facilities in use.”

Cllr Tony Ball, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Life Long Learning and Employability, said: “Ensuring that every child in Essex has access to an excellent education is at the heart of our Everyone’s Essex strategy, as well as being at the forefront of our vision for levelling up the county.

“This is an example of how Essex County Council is investing in SEN school places across the county, ensuring that all children have the support they need to meet their educational potential, and they receive all the necessary support and resources to meet any special educational needs or disabilities.”