Andover special school celebrates completion of building project

The Mark Way School in Andover has celebrated the completion of major building works which have created 20 additional school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Sep 20 2023

Image shows The Worshipful The Mayor of Test Valley cutting the ribbon at a celebration ceremony at The Mark Way School. Left to Right: Sonia Longstaff-Bishop, Headteacher of The Mark Way School; Mayoress of Test Valley (Councillor Linda Lashbrook); The Worshipful The Mayor of Test Valley (Councillor Philip Lashbrook); Councillor Kirsty North (Andover North); Councillor Edward Heron, Executive Lead Member for Children's Services; and Sam Lemon, Assistant Site Manager, Morgan Sindall.

Councillor Edward Heron, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, joined staff at the school for a special reception to celebrate the work that has taken place.

He said: “It was a pleasure to visit The Mark Way School and to see the many excellent improvements that have been made. Hampshire, as with other Local Authorities nationally, continues to see exceptionally high demand for special school places. Our £2.6 million investment in The Mark Way School has created 20 additional places – all of them vitally needed – that will help more children to access the specialist support they require. It has also improved the overall learning environment so that all pupils here can continue to enjoy high-quality school facilities that are fit for purpose and meet their needs.

The Mark Way School caters for young people aged 11-16 with Moderate Learning Difficulties. A significant expansion of the school was completed in May 2023 and has enabled the school to increase its capacity by up to 20 additional places, from 82 to 102 pupils. The project has created two new classrooms, two new group rooms and an improved outdoor space for students, as well as extensive internal refurbishments to the existing school building.

Sonia Longstaff-Bishop, Headteacher of The Mark Way School, commented: “The school expansion is such a positive improvement to the school that further enables us to meet the needs of the young people that attend. It is supporting us to provide an even better curriculum offer that helps our young people to access positive life chances. The students, staff and governors have been pleased to receive this investment.”

Councillor Heron added: “Thank you to the Headteacher, Governors and school staff for their support and patience throughout the design and construction, and also to the pupils who have taken it all in their stride while works were underway.  Finally, thank you to all County Council staff involved in the design, planning and delivery of the project, as well as the contractor Morgan Sindall, without whom this project simply wouldn’t have been possible.”

The works at The Mark Way School form part of the County Council’s wider 2023-2026 Capital Programme for Children’s Services, which outlines a major programme of investment across both mainstream and special schools, early years settings, and in children’s social care. For more information, visit the County Council’s website.