North Yorkshire special schools get £2m buildings boost

Specialist facilities, new classrooms and more places for children are among the benefits of a £2m investment in some of North Yorkshire’s special schools.

The Forest School in Knaresborough:  Classroom – Shara Clark with Year 6 pupils

The Forest School in Knaresborough has benefitted from £1.1m funding from North Yorkshire County Council’s Schools’ Condition Grant. It has been used to create an extension, classrooms with breakout spaces and a hygiene room and will accommodate up to 25 new places.

Internal remodelling of some of the rooms within the main school building have created a range of specialist facilities including a SaLT (Speech and Language Therapy) room, medical room and physiotherapy room.

“We are delighted with the result of the programme of expansion and reconfiguration,” said Headteacher Michelle Farr. “The work has transformed the space available in the school and we now boast specialist facilities which can accommodate students with additional needs.

“In addition, there has been external accessibility improvements to the site, including the construction of a new ramp. We also have exciting plans in the pipeline to improve the playground.” 

Over three years between 2018 and 2021, the County Council is allocating £849,000 from the Department for Education's (DfE) Special Provision Capital Fund. 

Mowbray School in Bedale has developed satellite provision with £374,000 of the funding on the site of the former Moorside Infant School in Ripon which is to open in January. It will begin by offering up to 20 places rising to 40 places from September 2021, with scope for 60 places in time.

Another £218,000 of the grant has been used to create at least 24 more places, improve classrooms and hygiene areas, and build new classrooms at Springwater School in Harrogate, Springhead School in Scarborough, The Dales School in Morton-on-Swale and Brooklands Community Special School in Skipton.

The remaining funding has been allocated to the development of a new model of targeted provision attached to mainstream schools.

County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Schools, said: “Giving children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities the best possible start in life is one of our main priorities.

“We are pleased to have been provided with a timely financial boost from the Government to provide more places locally and specialist support with new facilities, which will only enhance a child’s school experience and help them to prepare for adulthood.”

This story was published 20 December 2019