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Work starts on the new special school 15 Mar 2024 Work starts on the new special school located in Towcester

Construction works have started on the development of a new special school located in Towcester which will provide much-needed places for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Leading construction firm Wilmott Dixon are underway with the development of the new school, called Tiffield Academy, which is set to open in autumn 2025 and will cater for children and young people between the ages of four to 18 with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC), speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), as well as those with severe learning difficulties (SLD). The school will be designed to physically accommodate 250 pupils, although it will operate to an admissions number of 230, with the remaining 20 places expected to be filled through emergency placements or other extenuating factors.

Commemorating the occasion with a ground-breaking ceremony, stakeholders came together to mark the start of the project, which will take shape over the next 18 months.  Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills at West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) was joined by representatives Wilmott Dixon who are delivering the project and Greenwood Academies Trust who will be responsible for running the new school.

This work follows planning approval in January this year for a three-storey building that is specially designed to create an environment for children to learn, grow and thrive. The school will have general and practical teaching spaces, a lift providing access to the upper floor, with each key stage next to a calm room, intervention room and a group room. There will be two halls proposed to provide physical activities, music, drama and assembly spaces.

The Early Years phase will be co-located with need specific sensory rooms and separate dining spaces for primary and secondary pupils.

Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills at WNC said:

“It is positive to see work underway at the Tiffield site in preparation for opening in Autumn 2025 as we know these additional spaces are very much needed and will make a significant difference to the children and young people who will attend the school, as well as their families. This school will provide an engaging environment and excellent teaching and learning facilities to help our students learn, develop and connect.

“This is a step forward and is part of our wider programme of creating 600 new specialist places locally as we continue to see a high demand for SEND places to meet the needs of our children and young people.

“We know this is not a solution for all and that there remain challenges with demand in other areas. We are working hard to provide support in all areas across our SEND offer and are working with schools and learning providers to embed a graduated response to ensure children’s needs are identified as early as possible and met in the best way. We are also reviewing the needs of all children to understand if and when additional specialist provision is needed.”

Wayne Norrie, Chief Executive of Greenwood Academies Trust said:

“We are pleased to be working with the Council and the DfE to deliver a vital new school for the young people of West Northamptonshire. It is great to see the first steps taken today towards this becoming a physical reality. We look forward to welcoming Tiffield Academy into the GAT family and, most importantly, working with our first cohort of fantastic young people from Autumn 2025.”

Spokesperson for Wilmot Dixon said: “We would like to thank West Northamptonshire Council for providing us with the opportunity to be a part of this new prestigious SEND project. As a result of the collaborative approach between each stakeholder, we are well underway to delivering this exciting new facility. Our goal is to assist West Northamptonshire council and the Greenwood Academy Trust in creating a positive legacy for the trust and the wider community for many years to come.”

Further updates on progress will continue to be shared as building works continue.

 

Contact Information

West Northamptonshire Council Communications Team
[email protected]