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Conlon Construction breaks ground on all-new Trafford school, The Orchards

Ground-breaking ceremony

Excitement is building for students, parents and staff as Conlon Construction breaks ground on Trafford’s all-new Special Education Needs (SEN) school, The Orchards.

Since its opening in 2016, the special needs school has occupied a building on the Acre Hall Primary School site in Urmston, however its brand new campus will include 14 classrooms and a nursery, in total accommodating 96 children aged three to 11.

A host of facilities will also be built on-site to support the wellbeing and personalised curriculum of pupils, including a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool – marking The Orchards as one of Greater Manchester’s only schools with this level of provision.

Commissioned by the Education and Skills Funding Agency on behalf of The Dunham Trust, the new school will reach completion in August 2020, just in time for the start of the next school year.

From its new site located in Urmston, Trafford, The Orchards will continue to cater for pupils with complex needs and speech and communication difficulties, including those with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SCLN), Severe Learning Difficulty (SLD), Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty (PMLD) and Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC). The school will use the new facility to augment its innovative approaches, such as speech and language therapy and a bespoke need-led curriculum personalised to each and every pupil.

CGI of the new school

A specialist provider in the delivery of bespoke SEN schools, Conlon Construction actively seeks out opportunities which make an impact on the local community and, in alignment with its commitments around social value initiatives, the company will be working with the school to develop a curriculum programme to include learning opportunities and visits from construction industry experts.

Conlon Construction is committed to leaving a lasting legacy that lives on beyond the build and benefits the wider community. The contractor has considerable school building experience in delivering bespoke schools for special education needs purposes; it recently handed over Cumbria Academy for Autism, a high-quality learning environment for autistic children and young people ages four to 19. 

Phil Ashall, EFA framework delivery manager at Conlon Construction, said:

“We are proud to work with The Dunham Trust to provide a brand new special education needs school, which will truly stand out against what other schools in the region are able to offer. The Orchards will create an outstanding environment in which students will have the space and facilities they need to learn and grow.

“We’re committed to developing strong connections within the local community, and expanding children’s horizons when it comes to understanding industries such as ours, and we look forward to continuing our work with the school in the months and years to come.”

Jayne Carmichael, interim CEO at The Dunham Trust, said:

“This is a very exciting time for The Orchards. The Orchards is celebrating its ‘good’ Ofsted inspection [July 2019] and the purpose-built school will provide significantly improved facilities.”

Helen O’Brien, head of school at The Orchards School, said:

“The staff are very much looking forward to supporting disabled learners and their families, in a bespoke learning environment. The school is set to provide both educational and community facilities which will enable it to become a beacon of excellence within the already vibrant Special Educational Needs and Disability sector in Trafford.”