Creating an environment where young people can flourish

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Northern Home Counties business has begun work on The Windmill School in Barnet.

Creating the right setting for young people with special educational needs is at the heart of plans for a new school in Barnet.

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Northern Home Counties business has begun work on The Windmill School in Barnet, which aims to improve the number of quality SEN places in the region.  

Being delivered on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and Barnet Special Education Trust, The Windmill School will provide education for up to 90 pupils aged 5-18 who have a primary diagnosis of autism, making it the first publicly funded specialist school for autism in Barnet. 

It is being developed by senior leaders from Oak Lodge School in East Finchley, supported by a team of specialist academics and education consultants. 

Ginny D’Odorico, designate headteacher at Windmill School, said: “As a long-standing autism practitioner in Barnet, I have seen the impact on our young people when they are not in the right setting. 

“The whole vision for The Windmill school was written to ensure we effectively meet the needs of our autistic children, who I believe have enormous potential in the right environment.  

“Morgan Sindall have worked alongside us, together with the architects, on each element of the design phase.” 

She added that the combination of the school’s specialist knowledge of autism and education together with the skills and experience of the architects, and the project team at Morgan Sindall, will lead to the creation of a “unique hub in the community”.

It will also provide “a centre of excellence that places children and their families at the forefront of our work,” she added. 

The Windmill School will provide places for children whose autism is a major barrier to their learning. 

Morgan Sindall will deliver a three-storey structure which will span across 2,900 sq m. 

Finished works will include primary and secondary general teaching spaces, laboratory space, food tech suites, sensory rooms, fully functioning kitchen, multi-use hall and a rooftop play area.  

Having successfully delivered previous SEN projects, Morgan Sindall will continue to use its Intelligent Solutions approach to ensure tailored results are created for the benefit of the end users. 

This has meant extra consideration has been taken in the construction throughout mechanical, electrical, plumbing and heating (MEPH) choices, including layout of specialist teaching and corridor spaces, ceiling and wall finishes, acoustic performance and colour choice.   

As part of the retrofitting work being completed, an innovative Natural Ventilation with Heat Recycling (NVHR) system will be installed across the new school, with 110m2 of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels installed on the roof. 

David Rowsell, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Northern Home Counties, said: “There is a significant demand for high quality SEN places right now, which means that the region needs tailored educational facilities that can provide the best possible education and opportunities. 

“We’re aware of the invaluable role specialist SEN schools such as The Windmill School play in delivering the support that communities require. 

“The whole of the Northern Home Counties team is thrilled to be working on such an important project and knows what a difference it will make for the Barnet area.” 

Morgan Sindall, a tier one contractor, has previously worked with Barnet Special Education Trust to deliver Oak Lodge School and Edmonton Academy Trust to deliver Salmon’s Brook SEND school in London Borough of Enfield in 2022. 

As part of Morgan Sindall’s commitment to social value, it will work closely with nearby Barnet College to develop the skills and provide opportunities to young people in the local area. 

This will include welcoming work experience students and offering construction workshops.  

It will also work with social enterprise Nuneaton Signs and provide local trades and labourers with a range of opportunities.

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