Discussion over new site for Chapel Road School

Chapel Road School, Attleborough headteacher Karin Heap celebrating with some of the pupils the news

Chapel Road School, Attleborough headteacher Karin Heap celebrating with some of the pupils the news that they have been awarded a grant to build a new school. Photo: Steve Adams

Plans to rebuild a complex needs school in Attleborough have moved another step closer after a possible site was found for the new building.

Chapel Road School was due to be rebuilt under the scrapped Building Schools for the Future programme and work has been underway for several years to find land and funding for the project.

Norfolk County Council has already committed £4m and has been exploring sites in the south of the county.

A possible site has now been found in Old Buckenham, near to the primary and high schools and the council is asking local people for their views.

In July, the scheme gained momentum when the Department for Education agreed to contribute £3.8m to fund extra places at the school and Norfolk County Council is proposing to commit a further £2.2m of capital funding.

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Karin Heap, headteacher of Chapel Road School, said: 'Our children need this new school so that we are able to best support their needs and ensure they can continue to receive an outstanding education.

'A site in Old Buckenham would be a fantastic base as it would help us to create an educational campus, alongside the high school and primary school, meaning we could share some of our facilities and give all of the children living locally access to new opportunities.

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'Our very strong links with the Attleborough community however will remain, because the learning that takes place for our students in the town centre is invaluable.

'The support of the Attleborough public is very much appreciated and this work will most certainly continue.'

Norfolk County Council will be holding a drop-in event on Tuesday, October 22 from 3pm to 7.30pm at Old Buckenham Primary School so that local residents can discuss the proposals. The council has also written to households to outline the proposal and invite their comments.

Any new school would not fully open until 2016.

Mick Castle, cabinet member for education and schools, said: 'Rebuilding Chapel Road is a priority and it has taken significant effort from all those involved to get this far.

'We want to ensure that children with complex needs can be taught as near to their homes as possible and that means we need this bigger, state-of-the-art school for those living in the south of the county.

'However, we must make sure that this possible site is the right one for Chapel Road and are therefore consulting with local residents, parents and other interested parties to gain their views on the proposal.'

The new school will cater for 110 pupils. It would be able to meet the needs of youngsters with a wider range of special educational needs than the current 60 place school.

Stephen Askew, county councillor for Old Buckenham, said: 'The primary and high schools in Old Buckenham are already good schools that are valued by the local community and bringing an outstanding school onto a campus would be a further boost for pupils and teachers.

'Any new buildings would also include facilities for community use, which would benefit those living in the local area.

'However, this proposal is still at a very early stage and I would encourage those living locally to get involved with the consultation to find our more and give their views.'

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