The £4.4million new Addington School building has been officially opened.
Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Malcolm Richards and executive member for children’s services Cllr UllaKarin Clark cut the ribbon with headteacher Sara Attra at the school to declare the building officially open, with the expansion allowing 50 more pupils to attend the Ofsted-rated outstanding school in Woodley.
Cllr Richards gave a short speech to declare the building open and the guests were given a COVID-19 safe tour of the building by two students and the Headteacher. The opening was recorded on video to be shown to the rest of the school community.
“I was delighted to be able to visit the fantastic new building and receive the tour where students and Mrs Attra explained the real-world benefits of this project and how it’s helping young people in our borough,” he said.
More young people will access the best SEND education possible in Wokingham borough at the school in Woodlands Avenue, with the school’s capacity now at around 250 students. It means more young people will be educated closer to home, making families’ lives easier by reducing journey times, as well as reducing the council’s travel costs.
Construction of the new block follows the opening of two new multi-use games areas (MUGAs), a new sensory path and an expanded car park at the end of September 2019.
Thirty-five of the 50 new places have already been filled from September 2020, with the rest of the additional places due to be taken from next September. The new places have helped accommodate a new year seven class and an Early Years class, with two additional classes when the new school year starts in autumn 2021.
'An excellent addition'
“The new sixth form building at Addington school is an excellent addition to the school’s provision,” Mrs Attra said. “Its use is twofold, firstly to provide a new excellent teaching and learning environment for our 16-19 year olds and secondly to provide space in our old building for an extra 50 special school places.
“These additional places will enable more children and young people with learning difficulties living in Wokingham to attend a local special school. Our sixth formers and staff have settled extremely well in to the new building and are enjoying using the additional facilities such as the teaching cafe, teaching kitchen and business enterprise room which have greatly enhanced our vocational curriculum.
“Our students have told us how happy they are with their new facilities and in particular the more age appropriate environment and are looking forward to developing the cafe as an enterprise project in the future.”
“This fantastic building has allowed us to increase places at Addington and it means we can help make the lives of an additional 50 young people and their families easier by offering them a place in an outstanding local school,” said Cllr Clark. “The range of facilities on offer will allow students to learn life skills, as well as providing a social space and standard classrooms.”
Green construction methods
The construction was completed by modular construction specialists Reds10, alongside our design partners HLM Architects. Seventy per cent of the building work for the new block was completed modularly offsite, a decision made to reduce disruption to the school and its students, and for its environmental benefits.
This method reduces the number of vehicle trips required and cuts down on the amount of waste produced as part of the project compared to traditional construction, which helps Wokingham Borough Council towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Claire Wakelin, Studio Director at HLM Architects, added: “We couldn’t be more pleased to have played our part in the successful delivery of the Addington SEN School expansion. Through our growing experience in offsite construction, and working closely with Reds10, we have been able to push the boundaries of design often associated with modern methods of construction.
“Pupils will now be able to learn, develop and thrive in a safe and nurturing educational environment that has been designed to help them reach their true potential. This school not only benefits its users, but also the wider community, strengthening the spectrum of opportunity by providing enhanced access to high quality learning.”
Michael Ruddick, Director at Reds10, summed up: “Constructing the School’s extension offsite meant that we were able to deliver the project more quickly, under safer, more controlled conditions and with less disruption to the local community.
"However, what we are really proud of was producing a building that contributes to the Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, while also providing a modular space, which is stunning to look at, fits with its surroundings and fit for purpose. Our entire team is pleased to have been part of the project alongside our partners HLM Architects and Wokingham Council and we look forward to future projects together.”