Brand new special needs school opens its doors

St Ann’s School in Morden opened its doors today to show off its brand new secondary campus in Middleton Road.

Merton’s councillors and members of the PCT and NHS joined head teacher Tina Harvey, staff and pupils at the school to admire the state-of-the-art facilities.

St Ann’s is an outstanding specialist school for communication and interaction, educating pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties between the ages of 3 and 19. The space provided by the new secondary campus enables St Ann’s to increase the number of places for pupils to meet present demand. The secondary campus provides education for 56 11-19 year-olds, while the primary campus in Bordesley Road accommodates 56 2-11 year old pupils. The capacity of the school as a whole will increase from 90 to 112.

Meeting government and Sport England requirements, the school is fully wheel-chair accessible and covers 3,301m2 floor space, has a 82m x 49m football pitch and a 35m x 20m multi-use games area as well as a variety of stimulating and calming spaces designed for the specific needs of the pupils including a hydrotherapy swimming pool.

Natural England has commended the development for its potential to increase native flora and biodiversity. Supporting biodiversity, the campus features a 1,000m2 sedum and wild flower roof.

The campus has been built with the environment in mind and is heated by a central on-site wood chip biomass boiler, which is expected to cut carbon emissions by 35% (50 tonnes) per year. Other environmental qualities to the building include water conservation through low volume cisterns, waterless urinals and spray time controlled taps. Rain water can be collected from the main roof for flush water in the lavatories. The building also incorporates a rainwater harvesting system.

Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Peter Walker said: ‘It is wonderful to see this beautifully designed new building open and educating young people with very special educational needs. Education changes lives and that is why we are continuing to invest in our schools and give all our young people the best possible start in life.

‘The increase in places will ensure that 65% more of our most vulnerable children aged 11-19 will be educated in an outstanding local facility rather than travel to more expensive facilities outside the borough. The scheme therefore ensures less disruption to children and their families from travel time and associated transport cost savings for the council.’

Head teacher of St Ann’s Tina Harvey said: ‘We have a wonderful new building with fantastic resources which I know our young people are benefiting from. Our pupils have very specific needs and we now have an excellent environment for learning.’