Works starts on new Bungay SEND school

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A 1930s middle school in Bungay is being transformed into an all-new school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by an Ipswich-based design and build collaboration.

Suffolk County Council has commissioned designers and consultants, Concertus, to convert the existing school building in Hillside Road, Bungay, into a permanent 80-place single storey school for pupils with communication and interaction needs. Communication and Interaction (C&I) schools are for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.  These may include students with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. The new school will accommodate students of primary and secondary school age (9-16 years).

Councillor Mary Evans, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Education and Skills, said: “This new school is part of our commitment to increase SEND capacity and to ensure that, wherever possible, young people with SEND can be educated in specialist provision closer to their homes. I am extremely pleased that the new school will open in September this year.”

The new facility will sit alongside the Attic pupil referral unit, which will remain as a separate unit and continue to operate while works are underway on the renovation of the rest of the building.

Contractors, SEH French Construction, began work in January 2021 to renovate the building including adapting existing rooms and facilities as well as the construction of a multi-use external games area.

Simon Hubert, Contracts Manager at SEH French Construction, said: “We’ve been very excited to begin this project not only for the opportunity to work alongside Concertus once again, but also for the chance to be part of the push to provide specialist facilities for children with SEND.

Martin Vinter, Project Manager from Concertus, echoed the sentiments of SEH French Construction: “We are delighted to be working alongside SEH French on this renovation,” he said, “and are very happy with the rapid progress we have made despite only being on-site for two months.

The new school is being established as an academy within the East Anglian Schools Trust (EAST). The Trust’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Angelo Goduti, said: “Castle East School will bring desperately needed, specialist provision to students with communication and interaction needs who will have struggled to access education throughout their lives. There is nothing more significant than this for young people in order for them to develop personally, socially and academically. We are extremely excited about the real opportunities that Castle East will provide for students so that, in time, they can look forward to life beyond school, with a feeling of genuine aspiration and self-worth. The significant refurbishment of the Hillside Road site will provide a boost to our local community through the impact it has on young peoples’ lives, the rejuvenation of the building and employment opportunities for committed and caring individuals locally.”

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