Plans in soon for new special needs £14m hub
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.”