New complex needs school given the green light on site of former primary

PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:28 24 February 2020

Artist's impression of the new special educational needs school on the former Alderman Swindell school site in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Artist's impression of the new special educational needs school on the former Alderman Swindell school site in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council

A new complex needs school on the site of a former primary has been given the go-ahead in a bid to meet demand for specialist places.

Norfolk-based Pentaco Construction was given the green light on Friday to build a new special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) school on the former Alderman Swindell site in Great Yarmouth.

The school is part of Norfolk County Council's plan to transform special needs education in Norfolk by investing £120m to create an additional 500 places across the county.

The Great Yarmouth site, which will be run by Boudica Schools Trust, is set to provide specialist school places for 94 boys aged five to 16 with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Don Evans, the trust's chief executive, said: "We are delighted that the planning committee has today approved the new school which we believe will be transformational for children in the local area who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties and also for their families."

Norfolk County Council's member for children's services John Fisher said: "We have promised to meet that challenge by investing millions of pounds to create hundreds more special needs school places across the county. This is one of the biggest programmes of its type in the country and will support more of Norfolk's most vulnerable children and reduce the need for some of them to have to travel to get the education they need and deserve."

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The construction project will involve building a new block of classrooms and residential provision.

This will enable around 30 to 40 children and staff to live on site during the school week and avoid the need for the children to travel to and from school every day.

A parking and waiting area for taxis and mini-cabs will also be built and the site will have a playing field and multi-use games area.

Demolition work to prepare the site for construction is already under way, and the new building is expected to be complete and start accepting pupils by autumn 2021.

In 2018, when the closure of Alderman Swindell, which has merged with North Denes primary, was announced, there were protests and a petition set up to save it.

Norfolk county councillor for Yarmouth North and Central, Mike Castle, said the decision ensured the building would be used by children for "many years to come".

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