Construction starts on Oldham school for pupils with autism

Zoe Thompson at the site of the new school

An independent school which will provide specialist one-to-one learning for children with autism is being built in Oldham.

Medlock FRB has begun work on Bright Futures School, next to the head office of cleaning products manufacturer Robert Scott & Sons in Greenfield.

The single-storey steel frame construction will be wrapped in cedar and stone cladding and will feature 15 classrooms, a sensory room, workshop, kitchen and dining rooms, office, staff areas and a medical room.

Oldham-based Medlock is also undertaking landscaping and car parking works.

The scheme is due to be completed early next year.

Medlock was appointed by Robert Scott, which stepped in to fund the new school after Bright Futures was told its rented premises in the village of Grasscroft, Saddleworth, were to be sold.

The architectural consultant for the new school is Oldham-based Whittaker Design.

Daniel Scott, operations director at Robert Scott, said: “When I learned about Bright Futures’ predicament I visited the school and saw the amazing work they do in transforming children’s lives.

“I couldn’t see such a great institution become homeless and we are pleased to be able to help safeguard its future.”

Bright Futures School was founded in 2010 by Zoe Thompson and her late husband Dixon Milburn. It is dedicated to helping children with autism aged from five to 16.

The school is currently in temporary premises in Greenacres, Oldham, pending the move to the new site.

Bright Futures began with one pupil – the couple’s elder son Philip – and currently has 12 children on its roll and 18 staff.

While the building is already funded, Bright Futures is looking to raise £50,000 for the latest teaching technology and sensory equipment to aid the development of its pupils.

​Dan Lewis, project director at Medlock FRB, said: “This is a really special project for us. To have been chosen as the contractor for a project like this, and to be part of creating a new home for Bright Futures School so they’re able to continue the important work they do, is very humbling.”

Zoe said: “We are all so excited about the new build, and seeing it take shape makes it feel much more real.

“We’re really looking forward to moving in after the February half-term break. It will be wonderful to be in a building that has been tailor-made for our pupils.”