A SCHOOL which cares for children with special educational needs has been given a prestigious award.

The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors has announced the winners of its inaugural RICS Social Impact Awards for the East of England.

Top prize in the education category went to Lexden Springs School.

More than 25 construction projects, which celebrate their role in transforming the East of England’s communities, were shortlisted.

Lexden Springs School, in Winstree Road, Stanway, is a state-of-the-art special education needs school with a campus for education and residential accommodation.

The school moved to a new site last year after being in its cramped premises in Halstead Road, Lexden.

The new building was shortlisted for being finished on time, on budget and scoring ten out of ten for customer satisfaction.

Jonathan Nelson, RICS Social Impact Awards head judge for East of England, said this project provides an excellent level of facility for young people who have mental and or physical needs.

He said: “It prepares them for life outside of the education system, all of which has been achieved through the collaborative approach of the school, local authority, design team and contractors.

“Special efforts were made to ensure the transition of the children from their existing facility to the new was as seamless as possible, including special site visits and safe cordoned areas for the children to view the construction as it happened.

“For those unable to physically attend the site, virtual reality headsets were used to show them the school that they would be getting so that the level of disruption was as minimal as possible.”

The expansion was part of the Essex County Council’s plans to spend up to £115 million on special educational needs places across Essex.

The investment, which includes £42 million from the Essex Schools Forum, came after an increase in the number of children in the county being diagnosed with autism and a surge in the demand for special needs school places.

The awards were launched earlier this year to find the best examples in the UK of developments delivering the best economic, social or environmental improvements for their communities.