Plans in soon for new spe­cial needs £14m hub

Stockport Express - - History - LISA MEAKIN

PLANS to re­place an Of­fer­ton school with a £14m hub to ac­com­mo­date 200 chil­dren with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs will be sub­mit­ted early next year.

The new fa­cil­ity will be built on the site of Lis­burne School, which is to be de­mol­ished, a meeting of Stock­port coun­cil heard. Coun Dean Fitz­patrick, cab­i­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion, said work was un­der­way to have draw­ings sub­mit­ted to the town hall in the com­ing months.

He told col­leagues: “There has been progress – and the agreed fund­ing for this project has now been es­tab­lished at £14m.

“In ad­di­tion, the foot­print of the school has been agreed – and the build­ing will be housed at the Lis­burne School site.

“Of­fi­cers are cur­rently work­ing on the var­i­ous re­ports that are re­quired so that a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion can be sub­mit­ted in early 2019.”

In April, Coun Fitz­patrick an­nounced plans to build the school amid ris­ing de­mand for places for chil­dren with spe­cial needs and dis­abil­i­ties.

There were fears that more than 30 pupils from Stock­port that were due to go into re­cep­tion class in Septem­ber would not have a place.

To meet de­mand a num­ber of those pupils were sent to in­de­pen­dent schools as an al­ter­na­tive but town hall chiefs said that would not be a sus­tain­able op­tion as trans­port­ing chil­dren to those schools ‘isn’t cheap’.

The gover­nor of Lis­burne School, Jenny Humphries, quizzed Coun Fitz­patrick about the plans dur­ing Thurs­day’s meeting of the full coun­cil.

She said pupils were suf­fer­ing as they were cur­rently be­ing taught in six sep­a­rate build­ings – and one was more than a mile away from the school.

Ms Humphries added: “Staff are do­ing an ex­cel­lent job in main­tain­ing a high qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion in very dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances, but it would be help­ful to know the timescale and the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the planned new premises.”

Coun Fitz­patrick thanked the staff and gov­er­nors for their con­tin­ued ‘pro­fes­sion­al­ism’ and the high qual­ity of care they of­fer their ‘most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren’.

He added: “We un­der­stand the ex­cep­tional pres­sures that the tem­po­rary ar­range­ments for ad­di­tional pupils have placed upon staff.

“I am di­rect­ing of­fi­cers to look at what sup­port can be cre­ated for the school lead­ers now that ar­range­ments are in place and work­ing.”

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