News & Insights

Morgan Sindall hands over SEND vocational college

A new home for the first free school in the UK to offer vocational training to students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), has been successfully delivered by Morgan Sindall.

Staff and pupils from Wolverhampton Vocational Training Centre have been able to move into a modern 150,000 sq ft teaching space, located at the old headquarters of building materials company, Tarmac, on Millfields Road, Wolverhampton.

The existing old industrial garage has been completely transformed into a modern one-storey teaching space. Featuring 12 classrooms with capacity for 50 pupils, it has been designed with specific trades in mind, including: construction, carpentry, catering, painting and decorating, dog grooming, hair styling and horticulture. There is a separate MOT bay, which allows vehicle maintenance to be taught, along with an external brick laying area covered by canopies.

Students will continue to work towards English, Maths and ICT qualifications alongside these practical courses. They will also be given coaching on interpersonal skills and interview techniques.
Established in 2015, and governed by The Central Learning Partnership Trust (TCLPT), the college offers vocational training to 16-18 year olds with SEND, or an Education, Health and Care Plan. It had been operating from a temporary location on nearby Upper Villiers Street.

Morgan Sindall was brought in by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), via the Constructing West Midlands Framework (CWMF), to accelerate the progress of the £3 million project.

Thanks to the commitment and can-do attitude shown by Morgan Sindall, and the collaborative approach between it, the ESFA and the Trust, the project was finished five weeks ahead of schedule, in time for the start of the new academic year.

Morgan Sindall’s site and design teams worked with the Trust to realise efficiencies in the existing plans, enabling the new facility to be delivered within budget.

The new school was officially opened with a ceremony on 19 October. Great Britain Deaf Men's Football international, Damian Wood, was on hand to cut the ribbon with staff and pupils. They were joined by representatives from Morgan Sindall, the EFA, and the Trust.

Ged McClinton, Project Director, at the ESFA, commented: “Morgan Sindall transformed this project with its hard work and determination to achieve the very best result for both staff and students. It should be rightly proud of the new school.

“It has created an environment that will enhance the practical learning experience for the students of WVTC, improve their life chances and increase the likelihood of students securing full-time employment when they leave. Its collaborative approach involving the staff and students at every stage in the process has paid off.”

Doug Selkirk, CEO of The Central Learning Partnership Trust, said: “I never thought I would say that the two year wait to move into our new purpose-built accommodation would be worth the wait.

“However, after visiting WVTC and seeing the impact it is having on the education and subsequent life chances of the young people who attend, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that it delivers everything we hoped for and more and that it has, most certainly, ‘been worth the wait’.

“The facilities and the opportunities they provide our students are both first class and I am hugely grateful to everyone involved in finally getting the project over the line. I know that Helen Andrioli, headteacher, would echo my thanks to Morgan Sindall and in particular the on-site team, who ‘pulled out all the stops’ to ensure the school opened this September.”

Dave Kelly, Morgan Sindall Framework Manager, added: “Finding suitable sites for new schools requires an increasingly innovative approach. Working with the ESFA, we have transformed a redundant industrial site into a modern campus which will be of real benefit to the local community.

“We’re incredibly pleased to continue our work on the CWM framework. That we have been able to step in and deliver such an important project ahead of schedule, is testament to the hard work and effective public-private collaboration shown by Morgan Sindall, the ESFA and the Trust.”

Morgan Sindall is also building a new secondary school, governed by the Khalsa Academies Trust, on the same site. The school has been operating from a temporary base at Parkfields High School, on Wolverhampton Road East, and will move to the Millfields Road campus when construction work completes.

The CWMF is the preferred delivery mechanism for capital building, repair and maintenance works for public sector organisations throughout the West Midlands.

Morgan Sindall is in a consortium arrangement with its sister company Lovell on the multi-contractor framework. The consortium, known as Community Solutions, had its role on Lot 7 of the framework extended in September last year. Lot 7 covers major capital projects with a value in excess of £500,000, and has so far yielded projects to the value of over £71m since its inception.