Construction work to start on new facilities for SEND students at Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall campus

Northumberland College’s new centre for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has moved a little closer.

Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 11:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 12:18 pm
Leah Charlton, Architect, Seymour Architecture; Coun Wayne Daley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Children's Services and Education and Skills at Northumberland County Council; Tom Crompton, Chair of the Northumberland Local Governing Board, Education Partnership North East; Vikkie Morton, Vice Principal Students Services & Registry, Education Partnership North East; 16-year-old Andrew Wilkinson, from Whitley Bay, who is a Foundation Learning student studying Skills for Working Life at Northumberland College; David Howells, Chief Operating Officer, Education Partnership North East; Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive, Education Partnership North East; Paul Young, Operations Manager, ENGIE; Paul Wharton, Project Manager, Hollis (back row) Cath McEvoy-Carr, Executive Director of Adult and Children’s Services, Northumberland County Council.

Energy services and regeneration specialist, ENGIE, has been confirmed as contractor and will now start construction work at the college’s Kirkley Hall campus, as part of a multi-million-pound investment plan.

It will be extending the Kielder Building to create an 800 metre square space over two floors at the heart of the campus which will be home to a sensory room, a modern and innovative life skills zone to allow students to develop their independence and an employability hub to support their progression.

Lee Francis, area director at Newcastle-based ENGIE, said: “We’re delighted to bring our construction expertise to this project and help provide some outstanding new facilities for Northumberland College students to learn and thrive in.

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“We’ll be engaging with the local community throughout the duration of this project, to ensure we leave a lasting legacy across the campus and the local area.”

Northumberland College merged with Sunderland College in March 2019 to create Education Partnership North East, one of the largest college groups in the UK.

The investment programme is part of the group’s bold new strategic plan and will ensure that Northumberland College is one the region’s leading education and training providers.

Vikkie Morton, vice principal for students services and registry for Education Partnership North East, said: “We are delighted that a local contractor will be supporting us to realise our exciting new vision for specialist state-of-the-art facilities that will further support our students with special educational needs and disabilities at Northumberland College.

“The new facilities will enable them to achieve their potential in a stimulating learning environment, with a reshaped and innovative curriculum that is personalised to their individual needs.”

Coun Wayne Daley, deputy leader and cabinet member for education at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are very pleased to see this project progressing at Northumberland College.

“It will provide great new learning opportunities in Northumberland for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“It is good to see that the college has an ambitious strategy for investment, and to see this getting underway.”