Build of new school building could see more places for SEND children

Plans have been lodged with Norfolk County Council for works at Drake Primary School in Thetford.

Plans have been lodged with Norfolk County Council for internal alterations and the build of a new stand-alone building at Drake Primary School in Thetford. - Credit: Google Maps

The build of a new classroom block could see more places for children with special education needs (SEND) at a town’s primary school.

Plans have been lodged with Norfolk County Council for internal alterations and the build of a new stand-alone building at Drake Primary School in Thetford. 

If approved, work inside of the school will create 16 places at its Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Specialise Resource Base (SRB) unit, which will include a sensory room. 

In planning documents online, it states: “At this school in Thetford, it is proposed to make internal alterations to deliver an SRB within the main building and provide a new stand-alone building on the Primary School site to relocate two existing reception classrooms. 

“The proposed building is to be located on an existing informal grassed area close to the existing school buildings. It will accommodate two main classrooms, two stores, two pupil WCs, a disabled WC, cleaners store, a staff/admin room, plant room and a circulation area.  

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“The internal alterations propose converting two reception classrooms into ASD classrooms with a store in one of these, two pupil WCs, a proposed sensory room and an office.  

“In addition to these internal alterations, an extension to the external canopy is proposed off this area of the school, as well as a hard-play area.” 

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In 2018, Norfolk County Council announced it was to invest £120m in specialist school places and services, with up to four new special schools and 170 places in specialist bases at mainstream schools. 

SRB’s are a key part of Norfolk’s local offer for children with special educational needs and their families.  

In Thetford so far, 16 school places - at SRB units - were also made available at Redcastle Family School and 20 places at Thetford Academy

The documents add: “The proposal will deliver new SRB accommodation in the main school building and deliver replacement classrooms in the standalone building to enhance learning opportunities at the school and create 16 new school places. 

“The proposed new building is sited in the optimum position to meet curriculum delivery requirements, close to existing buildings on the site and away from any boundary adjacent to existing housing.

"The position will not result in the loss of any formal sports pitch provision at the school.” 

Drake Primary School were contacted for comment.

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