McAvoy appointed to build the new Orsett Heath Academy in Essex

McAvoy has been awarded a project by the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver the new Orsett Heath Academy, part of the South West Essex Community Education Trust (SWECET) in Thurrock, Essex.

Commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education, McAvoy has embarked on the construction of a new 8,610sqm secondary school. With construction underway, the school will have the capacity for up to 1,200 pupils aged 11-16 in its 3-storey accommodation. The new secondary school will showcase innovative internal design features including a double-height dining area, spaces for students to collaborate and share ideas, and a performing arts hub.

Externally, the brief includes extensive hard and soft landscaping, parking areas for cars and bicycles, outside lockers, playing fields and the installation of a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA).

Works started on site in May with the school due to be completed in Summer 2024.

The project has been described as a “very exciting” development for children and families in Thurrock and will replace the temporary accommodation where students are currently learning with a brand new, state-of-the-art secondary school.

Positioned in close proximity to the Thurrock Rugby Club and Thurrock Harriers Athletics Track, the academy is poised to strengthen its existing partnerships and will support the development of a thriving sports hub in Thurrock. The prime location will foster development pathways for pupils and the wider community at all levels.

McAvoy has been at the forefront of the UK and Ireland’s offsite industry for more than 50 years, with significant experience in the education sector. It has recently delivered projects including Merstham Park School, a pioneering ‘Low Carbon Pathfinder’ project, and The Cavendish School, the world’s first International Baccalaureate special free school for Department for Education, as well as 2 SEND classroom blocks at Great Oaks School for Southampton City Council.

McAvoy CEO, Ron Clarke said the awarding of the Orsett Heath Academy project reflected the confidence in offsite manufacturing as a preferred solution within the education sector.

“Our team has significant experience of delivering high-quality accommodation within the education sector to demanding programmes and we are delighted to be appointed for this major project by the Department for Education. We have invested heavily in our manufacturing and delivery infrastructure in recent years with a view to securing projects of this nature where sustainability, quality and delivery within budget and programme are essential.”

The new building will provide a much-needed permanent building and cater for the growing demand for secondary school places at Orsett Heath Academy. The school has a specialism in sports, the arts and a strong international approach to languages, and will remain in joint use with the interim site for educational and sports provision, creating a lasting legacy, enhancing education, sport and recreation as a ‘Thurrock Institute of Sport.’

Steve Munday, CEO of SWECET, said: “Our community, students and families have eagerly awaited this state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to continue to provide an exciting and ambitious ethos of high expectations and achievement to more students in our local area. We’re so pleased that building work is underway and would like to thank all those who have supported us in our community during this time.”