Morgan Sindall Construction holds inclusive community engagement event for send students
Oxfordshire pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have taken part in an engaging hands-on session designed to help them understand how buildings are made.
It was delivered by Morgan Sindall Construction, which is currently building the state-of-the-art Orion Academy on Knights Road. The £12 million development is being delivered for Oxfordshire County Council, for whom the main contractor is also currently delivering a new extension to the nearby Hanborough Manor School.
Held at the Orion Academy site, the session was designed to involve the students in the building of their new school’s home, and give them an insight into construction and the role it plays in shaping the world around us. Also in attendance were two Skills and Enterprise Advisors from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) whom the main contractor has worked closely with on the project. Both advisors from the OxLEP were also invited to sign a brick for the new building.
Throughout the day, each class from the school was invited to sign a brick which will be placed within the building at a later date. Members of the Morgan Sindall Construction project team also gave a talk about the project itself and answered questions about the building process while guest speakers from the supply chain including local contractor, Robert Brothers Construction, were on hand to teach the children about their roles in the project.
The Orion Academy event was held in strict compliance with current Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, with all attendees maintaining social distancing and wearing protective PPE.
Plans are also in place for the children to visit the Orion Academy site later this month when, following a quick demonstration, each child will then be given the exciting opportunity to lay a brick in the building itself.
Orion Academy is operated by The Gallery Trust, a special multi-academy trust based in Oxford. The build is scheduled to complete in autumn 2021, in time for the start of the academic term.
Around 15% of England’s pupil population have special educational needs and disabilities. Morgan Sindall Construction has invested heavily in consulting, developing and refining the design of SEND schools to give the best possible educational experience. In 2020, it released a landmark ‘Building Better Futures’ report, which uses cross-sector knowledge to look at enhancing SEND school design and delivery and improving the student, teacher, carer and family experience.
James York, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to host this educational event. Morgan Sindall Construction is dedicated towards building inclusive environments for all, and engagement sessions really help create a collaborative learning community and a sense of connection with the new school. We look forward to showing the pupils the fruits of their labour with the delivery of the new school next year.”
Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: “It is wonderful that some of the future pupils of Orion Academy were able to gain an insight into construction and the role it plays in shaping the world around us, whilst building work is taking place.
“We are determined to further enhance learning experiences for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND); and this innovative event from Morgan Sindall Construction shows what is possible. I’m sure it was both informative and enjoyable for all the young participants.”
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Inspiring young people from all communities as well as bringing together our business community with the county’s education bodies is a vitally important aspect of our work – with this in mind, we were delighted to support this event.”
Darren Male, Consultant Assistant Headteacher at Orion Academy, said: “We are delighted to continue our positive working relationship with Morgan Sindall Construction. Students are very excited to have visited the construction site and enjoy the opportunities of seeing a typical working day and leaving a legacy by signing a brick to be used in the new build. All the staff and students would like to say a big thank you to Morgan Sindall Construction and we all look forward to further future initiatives.”
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