Northfield Special Education Needs School

Appointed by Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council as Local Education Authority, our team provided town and environmental planning services in supporting proposals for the construction of a replacement high quality Special Education Needs school on the existing Northfield School site.

Northfield School is a Local Authority maintained Special Education Needs school which provides education for young people aged 10-18 with Social Emotional and Mental Health, Cognition & Learning Needs, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Condition. The existing school is in a poor state of repair, no longer fit for purpose for student needs or able to meet the increasing demand for pupil places.

Our role included the co-ordination and preparation of a Screening Opinion, public consultation, and the preparation of a full planning application proposing a bespoken replacement and expanded SEN school to include new all weather pitches, an enlarged playing field and improved staff parking and pick up/drop off facilities. To ensure the smooth operation of the school, the project was also proposed to be phased to enable the existing buildings to remain in use during construction with demolition on completion of the new school.

The new design of the school, external space and grounds needed to support the range of pupils’ educational, therapeutic and medical needs. It needed to be a safe and secure environment whilst, of course, welcoming to pupils. As a result, the team worked with the Academy Trust and Local Authority to ensure that each teaching classroom had the benefit from dedicated outside teaching space and was provided with an adjacent breakout area to be used flexibly as a calming space for pupils or  1:1 teaching sessions.  In addition to the traditional requirements of a school, the school layout also included a life skill flat to prepare pupils for independent living but also a construction and maintenance and food technology classroom. The new all weather pitch will provide year round access to outdoor sports for pupils but also a local community facility outside of school hours.

Project Details

  • Dedicated outside teaching space
  • Flexible breakout area 
  • Life skill flat to prepare pupils for independent living
  • Construction and maintenance, and food technology classroom
  • All weather pitch for pupils and the local community
  • Enlarged playing field
  • Improved staff parking and pick up/drop off facilities

Planning permission for the new school was received in June 2020 and through collaborative working with the project team and Oxfordshire County Planning Authority during the determination period was granted without the need for pre-commencement conditions ensuring an expedient start on construction to meet the client’s delivery programme.

Images: Haverstock