Interserve has secured £41.4 million worth of contracts to build new school facilities for children in Leeds with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.
Leeds City Council has developed a new strategy to provide specialist SEMH education facilities.
New learning centres will replace the existing ‘behavioural, emotional and social difficulties’ (BESD) provision and pupil referral unit (PRU) provision, and will be delivered by Wellspring Academy Trust, the only ‘outstanding’ rated provider of SEMH provision in the north of England.
Three construction contracts in different areas of the city have been awarded to Leeds D&B One, a subsidiary of Interserve.
Leeds D&B One was set up specifically to build schools for Leeds City Council.
Previously, Interserve has worked on Leeds ‘Building Schools for the Future’ scheme.
Through Leeds D&B One, Interserve has a contract worth £14.3 million to redevelop the former Merlyn Rees High School site in Belle Isle, located in the south of the city; a £13.0m contract at the former East Leeds Family Learning Centre; and a £14.1m contract to redevelop the Tinshill pupil referral unit in the north of the city.
Work on the three new buildings will run concurrently, with the accommodation due to be ready during the 2017/18 academic year.
Back in July, when the council, committed to the investment, Cllr Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families, said: “This hugely significant investment in world class facilities, support and education for those young people in our city with social, emotional and mental health needs is long overdue.
“It will enable more young people’s needs to be met closer to home, and save them from having to travel out of the city to access the learning environment they need. This new specialist provision will radically improve the learning, support and outcomes for some of the city’s most vulnerable children, replacing old, unsuitable buildings with specially designed learning places, which are fit for the future.”