New Doncaster SEND school has been approved for construction by councillors

A new special needs school in Doncaster has been approved by councillors and construction could start within weeks.

Monday, 5th August 2019, 17:28 pm
An artist's impression of how the school will look. Picture: Faulknerbrowns Architects

Members of the planning committee approved a Doncaster Council scheme to build the new SEND school on land north of Hungerhill Lane in Edenthorpe.

The school will provide provision for 100 pupils between the ages of five and 19 along with 50 members of staff.

Supporting facilities include a sports pitch, multi-use games area and specialist teaching facilities. The building will include user specific provision such as sensory rooms, soft play and calm rooms.

An artist's impression of how the school will look. Picture: Faulknerbrowns Architects

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Rebecca Mason, who is head of the SEND department at Doncaster Council, said the new facility will be able to bring children back into Doncaster and save money on expensive out of area placements for borough children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The meeting heard more parents with SEND children are providing their education at home due to a lack a provision in mainstream schools.

Ms Mason told councillors: “We’ve got around 300 young people who we will be looking to narrow down - they’re in our system but they could be in inappropriate placements.

Priority places will be given to those who attend other SEND schools outside of Doncaster and children who are homeschooled, Ms Mason added.

The school site plan

The proposal includes provision for other councils to be offered places at the school.

Rotherham, Sheffield and Barnsley councils have supported the bid and could take up to 20 of the 100 places.

But despite the plan being unanimously approved by councillors, construction will have to wait until the Environment Agency has time to go over further information provided by the council on flood risk. The development is in Flood Zone 3 which classes areas as the highest risk of flooding.

The school is being funded by central government at around £6.4 million.

Clare Plant, a planning consultant on behalf of the council, said: “You’ll appreciate the needs for these schools - there’s a lot been said about the struggle to provide this type of education setting and obtaining the funding and the council has been working hard to progress that.

“We’re dissapointed we haven’t been able to confer with the Environmental Agency on their concerns but having to spoke to them they often get called away on flood risks and they’re hoping to come back by the end of the week.

“We want to get on the site as soon as possible to make a start in order to deliver it in line with the academic year.”

DMBC planning officer Mel Roberts said: “The delivery of this school will help to increase the provision of school places for children from the ages of five – 19 with high functioning autism.

“The proposed development will provide more opportunities and improve accessibility to education and have wide social benefits for the local communities of Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and the wider Doncaster area.”

The scheme was passed by councillors pending a response from the Environment Agency and a request from Thorne & Moorends Coun Mark Houlbrook to work with the construction team to double the amount of cycling parking provision from five to 10.