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Image of the front of the Glenwood School in Essex showing the wooden cladding used on the exterior

Glenwood SEN School

An inspirational, state-of-the-art Special Education Needs (SEN) school, Glenwood School is a home-from-home for 210 students aged 3-19-years-old with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. Frequent site visits from students allowed them to feel involved with the build, easing their transition from the old school building to the new.

Key Stats

210 SEN student places created

Team gave over 230 volunteer hours to the local community

Seven apprentices and trainees were appointed to the project

99.8% of all waste recycled

14.8% hours worked by local people

Awards include: 2018 RICS East Community Benefit Award; 2018 LABC East of England - Best Inclusive Building

The team also delivered a residential block at the school as part of a later project

Learnings from the design and build of the project were used to inform our Building Better Futures research

At a Glance


Essex County Council


£15.4 million


August 2017


Benfleet, Essex


SEN education

Our approach

Replacing a much-loved existing school building came with a unique set of challenges, the most important of which was that the new Glenwood School had to feel like the old Glenwood School. A challenge the team met and exceeded.

The new Glenwood School is a two-storey timber frame building with 26 spacious classrooms, a hydrotherapy pool and specialist facilities including swing therapy rooms and a trampoline room, along with an independent living area for older students and two hall spaces.

Keeping the needs of the end users in mind at all stages was a key priority, with all staff and subcontractors on the project given tours of the old school to highlight this importance.

Regular meetings were held to ensure the design incorporated all support equipment, such as hoists, from an early stage, with sample rooms delivered early to allow the team to agree quality benchmarks.

The cross-laminated timber frame is robust and resilient, and its use also reduced the build time by around 15%.

Find out more about the work our Chelmsford Office team has delivered


Social impact

Live campus working in close proximity to two other schools, meant that this had to be a carefully coordinated build, with significant community interaction. Coffee mornings were held to allow local residents to see progress on site, and the team regularly welcomed staff and students at key milestones, which aided in the transition between the old and new school buildings.

Six of the apprentices on site were employed through our supply chain partner, DPL , helping to bridge the skills gap. We also hosted regular work experience placements from Southend and South Essex Colleges , hosting students for one or two weeks and introducing them to engineering, site management and commercial surveying roles.

Part of Morgan Sindall Construction's Customer Charter included the aspiration that the new Glenwood feels like the old Glenwood. It still felt like home! We have a shiny new body, but the same heart - I could feel it, it made my day. Thank you to all involved in this amazing journey!
Judith Salter CBE, Headteacher, Glenwood School


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