Site overview

Orchard School for children with special educational needs (SEN) is set across two sites in Newark: Appleton Gate and London Road. This split makes life harder for the children, families and staff, and neither building is meeting their current needs.

Nottinghamshire County Council wants to provide better, with a £16.5 million project to bring the children together in one building, with new facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool, 140 pupil places, and a new day service building for adults with special needs.

They’ve appointed us to design and project manage this exciting scheme.

School places
Demolition and new build
Spring 2020
4,000 m2
Day service
1,000 m2

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About the project

Working with construction partners Willmott Dixon and GF Tomlinson, we’re handling every aspect of the project. As the site is complex, with existing buildings where new ones will eventually be built, we’ve begun by splitting the work into phases.

Phase one is already complete. It saw us refurbish a nearby former care home to create a temporary facility for the day service users while we demolished their current building. The next phase will be the creation of the new school, and once the children have moved in we’ll begin the final phase – demolishing the remaining buildings.

Designing the new site meant understanding where the previous buildings had fallen short. So, we began by talking to the school and day service to find out what they needed, including special facilities and accessibility requirements. We also worked with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, getting their support for our designs.

The new design will see us create a new SEN school, featuring a series of connected cubes, separated by colourful glazed entrances. The use of colour will engage the children and help them find their way. Meanwhile, the day service building will have a homely, welcoming feel. Both have been designed to sit comfortably within the local surroundings.

We’re using the natural stream that divides the site to create a distinct area for each building, but creating a similar look across both by using the same palette of materials. Inside, high-quality facilities will include open-plan and quieter areas, sensory suites, bespoke hygiene suites and bright, engaging spaces.

As some of the site falls within a flood zone, our architects have worked closely with the Environment Agency to mitigate flood risk.


Newark Day Service 19 03 19 121

With the day services already relocated and the design phase well underway, we’re on track for the project’s planned completion date of spring 2020.

The buildings have been designed specifically around the needs of the children and adults who’ll use them, as well as their staff and families. The project will be the realisation of the school and Council’s shared vision for a modern facility that improves education – and lives.

We’ve involved the local community throughout the design process, welcoming people to drop-in sessions and creating opportunities to give feedback. The response has been unanimously positive, with real support for the project.

Key outcomes

Through close collaboration and consultation, we’ve designed a site that will deliver our clients’ and users vision and provide much needed facilities.

The £16.5 million Orchard SEN School and Newark Day Services are on schedule to open in spring 2020. They’ll welcome 140 children – with the capacity to expand to 170 in the future – as well as adults with diverse special needs.

We’ve built strong relationships between everyone involved in the project and we’re looking forward to seeing these grow. This is a fantastic project and we’re excited to see the huge benefits it will bring to its users and the local community.

School right view
School left view
Day services

How Arc Partnership can help you


Early engagement and project brief

We’ll help your project get off to the very best start, supporting you with everything from strategic definition and briefing to concept design, feasibility reports and cost planning.


Full design development

Once your concept’s in place, we’ll fully develop your design with technical, structural, mechanical and electrical detailing, plus procurement of all the resources you need.


Construction and management

Every building project brings its own complexities, but we’ll be here to project manage yours, keeping it moving smoothly and efficiently, all the way through to completion.

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