Wiltshire Publications

Government gives green light for next stage in Wiltshire’s special schools investment

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PLANS to invest in special school education moved a step forward today after Government officials gave the green light to a key part of the process to provide additional school places in north Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Council wants to ensure that all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities have access to a first class education for SEND pupils. The new school is key to these plans.

After consulting extensively with parents, pupils, schools and the community the council approved a number of recommendations including:

  • The establishment of a new, maintained special school with a single leadership team to work across all three sites of St Nicholas, Rowdeford and Larkrise schools.
  • Expansion on the existing Rowdeford site to accommodate up to 400 pupils as part of the new special school by September 2023
  • Approve that the sites of St Nicholas and Larkrise stay in use until the new provision is ready, and then review if it is appropriate for children to transition to the new site at Rowdeford. This is to be established by approval by cabinet of further consultation on the appropriateness of transferring the provision of St Nicholas and Larkrise to the Rowdeford site no later than 12 months before opening all the new provision. This consultation would be determined by the demand for places, views of stakeholders and wider development of inclusive education for children and young people with SEND living in Wiltshire.

The Office for the School Adjudicator (OSA) examined the proposals to amalgamate the three schools and establish the new, maintained special school with a single leadership team to work across all three sites of St Nicholas, Rowdeford and Larkrise schools. It has now given the green light for the amalgamation to go ahead –  a key milestone in taking forward exciting work to develop the provision.

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills said: “The OSA decision is an important step in securing the very best provision for our SEND pupils for the future. In preparation for this decision we have already started to design a build programme to meet the need for additional special schools places in north Wiltshire and we will shortly be announcing the preferred contractor to oversee the build.

“Although COVID-19 has created some challenges, we are working hard alongside our school community and I look forward to continuing that working together with families, pupils and schools so we have the best available provision which meets the needs of our SEND pupils now and in the future. The three schools have been doing excellent work planning for the future, and we look forward to continuing to work with the new school on this exciting project.”