The headteachers of Suffolk’s newest SEMH school have spoken of their pride after opening last month.
The Sir Peter Hall School in Bury St Edmunds has opened its doors to students, aged nine- to 16-year-olds, with school leaders saying they are delighted with the start they have made. In a joint statement, Catharine Wensley and Jo Pettingale, said: “Opening a brand new school brings with it a sense of excitement among students, families and staff alike and that has certainly been the case with the Sir Peter Hall School. It is an honour to be leading this much-needed school and we can’t wait to work with our entire school community going forward.”
The school, which is based on Airfield Road, on the Moreton Hall estate, will have an initial intake of 40 students, building to 80 students over the next three years. The joint headteachers added: “We have had a great first few weeks with everyone settling in very quickly. As symbolised by our logo of the caring hands and the book, we combine academic subjects, in line with the National Curriculum, with a bespoke, nurturing environment to prepare our learners to lead fulfilling lives.”
Sir Peter Hall School has been built by Suffolk County Council in partnership with Morgan Sindall Construction and Concertus Design and Property Consultants, and was opened by the Unity Schools Partnership.
Following an informal consultation, a decision was made to name the new school after theatre, opera, and film director, Sir Peter Hall. Sir Peter was born in Bury St Edmunds and founded the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Rachel Hood, Cabinet Member for Education, SEND and Skills, said: “Suffolk County Council are thrilled to be working with Unity School’s Partnership to provide 80 places for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. This much needed provision is part of Suffolk County Council’s commitment and significant financial investment to deliver additional specialist places throughout the County. We are grateful for Concertus and Morgan Sindall for delivering the building which provides a good learning environment for students”.
The school has been designed to meet BB104 guidelines and accommodate class sizes of 6-8 pupils, aged between 9 and 16 years old. The high-quality design makes the best use of the space available, with corridors and every classroom having a separate quiet space for one-on-one time if needed. This purpose-built school also includes sensory rooms with calming lighting and music. Key controlled areas and Kingsway doors (throughout the corridors) offer secure, robust, and functional surroundings.
Laura Morris De’ath, who was lead designer on the project and Associate at Concertus Design and Property Consultants, said: “In addition to designing a safe space for the pupils, we wanted to deliver a school which would be an exciting place where the children looked forward to going. The new school increases SEN capacity in the county, reducing the need for costly placements outside of Suffolk. We are pleased to have worked so closely with Morgan Sindall, Unity Schools Partnership, and our client Suffolk County Council to deliver the new SEMH school for the local children.”
Alister Broadberry, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Eastern Counties, said: “We’ve been delighted to continue our close working relationship with Concertus and Suffolk County Council on this project. At Morgan Sindall Construction, we’re committed to delivering first-class developments that inject real social value into the communities at the heart of our schemes and the recently opened Sir Peter Hall School is a great example of this ethos in action.”
Sir Peter Hall School has made a positive impact within the Bury St Edmunds area by providing specialised SEMH facilities which offer individualised support for students. Pupils and parents are delighted that they have this fantastic facility close to where they live.