First look at new school proposed for county

Artist's impression of the new special educational needs school on the former Alderman Swindell scho

Artist's impression of the new special educational needs school on the former Alderman Swindell school site in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The first plans for a new special educational needs school in Norfolk have been revealed.

Norfolk County Council is inviting people to view early proposals for the school, which will be built on the former Alderman Swindell site in Great Yarmouth.

The new school - which will cater to children with social, emotional and mental health needs - is part of the council's £120m investment in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) education announced last year.

Plans show the school will provide learning for up to 94 boys aged five to 16. There will also be provision for 30 to 40 staff and children to live on site during the school week to reduce travelling.

The council hopes to submit a planning application for the new school at the end of October. While no official cost estimate has been released, the authority said schools such as the one planned typically cost between £12m and £14m.

Applications for running the school have been submitted by academy trusts and the government will make the final decision by the end of the year.

John Fisher, cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council, said: "We've always said that we want the Alderman Swindell site to become a school for children with special educational needs and this is the next step in that pledge.

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"This school will mean that children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs who live in the surrounding area don't have to travel long distances to get the education they need and deserve.

"This is an exciting proposal and I'm looking forward to meeting local people at our exhibition to explain more about it."

A drop-in event where people can hear about the plans and view early designs will take place on Tuesday, October 1 from 2pm to 7pm at the Alderman Swindell site on Beresford Road. People are asked to use the Keyes Avenue entrance.

Organisations representing children and families living with SEND will also be at the event to discuss the plans and opportunities they may bring.

Mick Castle, Norfolk county councillor for Yarmouth North and Central, said: "This is a great opportunity for local people to find out all about the plans for this new school."

But Mike Smith-Clare, Labour spokesman for people and communities, said: "It goes without saying that Great Yarmouth requires not only specialist schools, but additional support and provision in mainstream schools for young people with complex health, emotional and educational needs.

"What really sticks in the throat is that the much loved thriving Alderman Primary School was closed unnecessarily.

"With promised investment then why on earth wasn't a popular school left open, an existing one improved and a new specialist one built? This is what Great Yarmouth really deserves."

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