Progress is being made on the £7.7m Middlesbrough Discovery Special Academy project for the Department for Education (DfE).

Tilbury Douglas is the main contractor on the project, with Durham-based architectural practice Howarth Litchfield appointed as lead designer on behalf of Tees Valley Education Multi Academy Trust (TVEd).

The planning application for the new school building, which has capacity for 84 pupils, is located on the former Nature’s World site and was approved in March 2021. Work started on site in August and completion is anticipated in March 2022, ready for the 2022/23 academic year.

TVEd manages five academies – four of which are mainstream primary academies, catering for 4 to 11-year-olds, including two with specialist learning units.

Discovery Special Academy offers specialised support for pupils with severe learning difficulties, including those with physical disabilities, multi-sensory impairments and complex medical problems.

The new build academy will work towards delivering inclusive practice where carers and professionals work together to support the holistic development of the child in which all therapies are an integral part of pupils’ education.

Keith Handy, project architect and a director of Howarth Litchfield, said: “Specially designed interior spaces have been incorporated which allow for the integration of specialist therapeutic interventions such as rebound therapy, sensory stimulation, physiotherapy and soft play, which are key to the overall mental and physical development of the children.

“The new learning environment we are creating will fulfil the Trust’s and the academy’s commitment to fully meeting the individual needs of all pupils while ensuring the full integration of the academic, therapeutic and social curriculum.”

The next stage of construction is to make the building weathertight and commence with the internal fit-out services and partitions.

Mark Gardham, North East regional director at Tilbury Douglas, added: “Credentials and lessons learnt from previous projects enable us to collaborate and drive efficiencies through all stages of a project to enhance the student experience.”

The project is being delivered as part of the government’s free school capital programme.

Insider Media Limited – November 2021

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