New school starts hiring as steel frame is installed

Alex Mackay shows Lawrence Chapman and Rob Speck the works on the roof of the new Duke of Lancaster.

Lawrence Chapman, Chief Executive Officer, SENDAT (left), Alex Mackay, Construction Director, R G Carter (centre) and Rob Speck, Head of School Designate, Duke of Lancaster (right) in front of the steel frame of the new Duke of Lancaster. - Credit: Thissaway

The development of a new Norfolk special school school has taken another step forward with its steel frame in place and staff being hired.

The new school, recently named Duke of Lancaster, is being built on the former Fakenham College Sixth Form site by Norfolk County Council as part of its £120 million programme to transform special education.

The frame installed by RG Carter, the contractor, is another step towards completion after they laid the foundations on-site in January, with plans to open the school in January 2022.

Head of school designate Rob Speck, chief executive of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Academies Trust Lawrence Chapman, and partnership director at SENDAT Angela Whatley joined the construction firm on the site for a tour and update of the educational development.

Alex Mackay shows Lawrence Chapman, and Rob Speck, Head of School Designate , Duke of Lancaster

Alex Mackay, Construction Director, R G Carter (left) shows Lawrence Chapman, Chief Executive Officer, SENDAT (centre) and Rob Speck, Head of School Designate , Duke of Lancaster. (right) the works on the roof of the new Duke of Lancaster. - Credit: Thissaway

Mr Chapman said: “It is fantastic to see the progress of the build and to be able to start recruiting staff.

“We have been delighted by the welcome in the community and the response from prospective parents.”


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The new facility will provide a modern specialist learning environment for up to 100 children and young people, aged between five and 16, with autism and complex communication and interaction needs.

The Duke of Lancaster is part of Norfolk County Council’s plan to transform special educational needs in Norfolk, hoping to address the ever-increasing demand for specialist teaching and help reduce travel times for students who require support.

building site of new Fakenham school

Concrete being poured at the Duke of Lancaster site in February 2021 - Credit: SENDAT

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Alex Mackay, construction director at RG Carter, said: “We are delighted to be part of the wider vision of SEN expansion in Norfolk with the provision of a high-quality building to serve the needs of the local community.

"We have made excellent progress and look forward to handing the completed building over at the end of the year.”

Completion of school is expected in winter 2021.

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