Sunderland children make their mark as new £13 million school starts to take shape

A specialist school which supports children with severe learning and physical difficulties has started to take shape as construction work officially began on its steel framework.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 3:49 pm

As the new school looks set to make its mark on the education of Wearside pupils, it was the children’s chance to make their own mark on the new construction.

While foundation works at Sunningdale School’s new £13.3 building started in the summer, there’s growing anticipation as the steel girders begin to be slotted into place.

To mark the occasion, there was an official steel signing with pupils and staff inscribing their names into the framework.

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After enjoying a tour of the site with some of the school’s children, headteacher James Waller said: "It was amazing to see the site and spend time with the children there. The sense of awe and wonder the children experienced being on the site and surrounded by the open structure of the building was amazing."They were so proud to sign the steel frame and enjoyed seeing the large machinery in operation. It helped build a real sense of ownership for them of their new school.“The new building will have the space and facilities to continue to grow and develop our provision for some of the city’s most vulnerable children.”

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The new state-of-the-art school has a total floor space equivalent to around two football pitches, allowing bigger classrooms, extra hall and therapy provisions including rebound therapy, hydrotherapy, light and sensory facilities and soft play.

Every class will also have a storage area for mobility equipment which may be needed for the pupils with physical disabilities.

Children from Sunningdale School sign the steel girders which are providing the framework for their new school.

Also signing the steel was Sunderland City Council' s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, Councillor Louise Farthing, who said: "I think we can all agree that children and students deserve the very best education and the very best facilities."Sunningdale looks after some of the city’s most vulnerable young people. These are children who absolutely deserve this investment as it will allow them to enjoy a stimulating environment that is built to meet their needs."There’s exceptional care and support from everyone at the school and the new building and all its facilities will ensure that pupils are supported with the very best."It’s a great honour to be here today making our mark, quite literally, as we sign the steel and look to Sunningdale's opening in 2022."

Dan Doherty, Regional Director at Kier Regional Building North and Scotland, who are leading the construction, added: "The steel signing event marks an exciting point of the project and the commencement of the assembly of the steel frame."The team on site have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and now the building works have passed this pivotal point, we can really start to see what a brilliant asset this new school will be to the community."

The new school, which is being constructed at Clinton Place, Doxford, is part of the City Council’s £45m programme of school updates which has also included the construction of the new-build £5.3m Willow Wood Primary School and work is soon to commence on the new £6.7m Hetton Primary School.

Councillor Louise Farthing signing the steel girders being erected as part of the construction of Sunningdale School.

Sunningdale will provide an education for 16 nursery and 120 primary aged pupils. The school is due to open in September 2022.

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