Plans for new Orchard School revealed

A drop-in session held by Nottinghamshire County Council and partners Arc Partnership highlighted their ambitions to open the doors of the new Orchard Special School site in April 2020.

The campaign, led by Head Teacher Margot Tyers, the Advertiser and Newark MP Robert Jenrick, is set to cost £15 million.

The proposal will see the existing London Road day service site demolished, and service users will be temporarily re-located to the refurbished Woods Court site, Newark in late February 2019.

The former leisure centre, which was struck by arsonists in September 2017, will be the site for new Day Centre, which will accompany the new Orchard School.

Despite no official contractor appointed as of yet, Head Teacher, Margot Tyers, who was in attendance at the drop-in session, said: It is all becoming a reality now. The County Council have committed to the project and we have all of the right people supporting us.

“They (Arc Partnership) have planned around everything we have requested, meaning the building is suited to us rather than us placing ourselves in a new building, which is so important for everybody.

“Things such as having a hydrotherapy pool on site and not having to travel to Mansfield to use one are exciting. There will be new equipment, higher ceilings, rooms fit for purpose, ceiling hoists, interactive classrooms and soft play rooms, all things we have never had before. The courtyard will be bigger and there is going to a colour schemes around the school.”

The new school, which is designed to create 140 Special Educational Needs places, with the option to increase to 170, has also been deemed more accessible by the Head Teacher.

The London Road facing entrances for both the new Day Centre and Orchard School will be designed alongside a looping road with a drop-off point.

Technical challenges such as flood zones, security and parking issues have also been addressed.

William Thorpe,11, a year seven student at the Orchard School, said: “I am excited to be in a new classroom.”

William, of Newark, was accompanied by his parents, Peter Thorpe and Lorraine Pannell.

“William spends a lot of time in school and it is important he is in a nice place,” said Lorraine.

“The hydrotherapy pool looks great and I am happy they are all on one site,” added Peter.

“I could never get parked before so I am happy little things like that are being changed.”

The new site will see all students from primary, secondary and post-16 together for the first time, to the delight of Orchard School Governor, Mrs Claire Hunsley, who said:

“It will be a culture change having everybody under one roof, but a positive change. The staff will be together and not split across three sites, like they used to be a couple of years ago.

Not having to go out on to the street to take children to and from different class room like you have to do at Appleton Gate is something I’m glad is changing.”

Further questions regarding the school can be sent to


Article originally written by Connor Thompson for the Newark Advertiser