A ground-breaking event was held at the site close to Halfway Houses Primary in Danley Road, Halfway, involving representatives of The Sabden Multi-Academy Trust, which will run the school, off-site construction specialist Reds10, the Department for Education (DfE), KCC and leaders from the neighbouring Halfway Houses Primary School and The Island Learning Trust.
Sabden Chief Executive Officer Jo Foulkes and Anna Morse, Head of Operations and Development, put on the necessary protective equipment to symbolically commemorate the start of work on site.
The Trust already operates three high performing special schools and two alternative provision schools in East Sussex. Mrs Foulkes said she was looking forward to bringing her team’s expertise to the Sheppey school, which will cater for children in Years 7 to 11 with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“Many of our current pupils have experienced difficulties in their previous educational placements,” she said. “We strive to create a warm, caring, stable and supportive environment in which all staff and pupils feel safe, and which allows all pupils to reach their full potential.”
She said every school within the trust was equally important. “Our schools work in collaboration, with school-to-school evaluation and challenge to ensure we are offering the best education and support for the pupils in our care.”
Cllr Rory Love, KCC Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said he was delighted to see work begin on the Sheppey school, after over four years of work by KCC to secure it.
“This provision is much-needed on the island. It offers greater convenience for families of children with special educational needs in Sheppey, and means children will arrive fresh and ready for school without having to endure the return journey off the island every day. And saving those unnecessary car journeys means less pollution, as well as saving Kent taxpayers the growing cost of transport.”
Joe Shepherd, Director & Education Sector Lead for Reds10, said: "’Reds10 are proud to be working on this landmark project on the Isle of Sheppey. Working closely with DfE, KCC and Sabden Multi-Academy Trust, while harnessing the power of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), will allow us to deliver a modern, nurturing learning environment for pupils to enjoy for many years to come.”
Reds10 is a vertically integrated off-site construction specialist with a wealth of experience in the Education Sector. Reds10 were appointed as main contractor to design and build the School as part of the DfE’s ‘Off-site Schools Framework’.
The Department for Education is funding the building of the school, which is yet to be named. Ms Foulkes said the Trust will be undertaking a consultation with residents and the local Sheppey community between 19 June and 30 July, and suggestions for the name of the school will be welcomed.