Construction works have officially commenced on the new Harry Watts Academy for children with autism which will be located in Redhouse, North Sunderland, once it is completed.
Situated on the site of the formerly occupied Bishop Harland Primary School, the new Harry Watts Academy will accommodate 100 students with autism and will be completed by the early stages of 2021, following a construction process which will be carried out by the contractor company Kier.
The Operations Director for Kier Regional Building North East, Phil McDowell stated: “Breaking ground at the site of the new Harry Watts Academy is the first major milestone in the construction of this project. We are delighted to be working with Sunderland City Council to deliver this much needed specialist facility.
“Kier has a long-held reputation within both the North East and the education sector and has been responsible for the delivery of over £5Bn of education facilities in the last decade.
“Most recently, we have successfully delivered four schools projects across the North East region in time for the beginning of the school year and we look forward to marking further milestones as the project at Harry Watts Academy progresses.”
As well as this, the new academy has cost a total figure of £6.3M and is named after a local sailor and diver who rescued more than 120 people and saved over 40 people from drowning over the course of his lifetime.
The Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Children, Learning, and Skills, Councillor Louise Farthing added: “Demand for school places for children with autism has been rising. These are children with complex, social, behavioural and emotional needs. As there is increasing demand for specialist school places, it is right and correct that they are met locally.
“As a council we are committed to providing the very best education and the very best facilities for all our children. The council has been working in partnership with its children’s company Together for Children and has long-term plans to meet all needs. The Harry Watts Academy is part of this plan and the start of work on the building is most welcome.”
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