Work set to begin on Attleborough school’s £13.8m relocation

Chapel Road School, Attleborough. Photo: Steve Adams

Chapel Road School, Attleborough. Photo: Steve Adams

Work on a long-awaited £13.8m state-of-the-art school for pupils with complex needs is set to begin this summer.

Chapel Road School in Attleborough will relocate to Old Buckenham and expand to take 110 pupils, compared to its current maximum of 60.

Work on the project, which was funded by Norfolk County Council's capital schools programme, together with a £3.9m grant from the Department for Education, will start in July.

The relocation will see the school take on a new name, Chapel Green School, but it will continue to be for pupils with complex needs aged three to 19.

Roger Smith, chairman of Norfolk County Council's children's services committee, said: 'These facilities will be fantastic. Many pupils will also have less distance to travel to school, which will make a big difference. Chapel Green School will be a vibrant and modern place for youngsters to be educated in Norfolk.'

Headteacher of Chapel Road School, Karin Heap, said she was delighted the new building's construction would finally start.

She said: 'Our pupils and staff will soon be able to learn and work in a school that is purposefully designed and where compromises on learning, due to restrictions in the accommodation, will be issues of the past. We are very grateful, as we have been waiting for this for a very long time.'

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The contract for the building work has been awarded to Morgan Sindall. Chapel Road school will transfer to the new building in September next year and increase pupil numbers from January 2018.

The project is part of Norfolk County Council's £137m schools capital programme, which is aimed at increasing school places in areas of growth.

Alec Byrne, Norfolk County Councillor for Attleborough said: 'I am thrilled that the pupils are going to be able to move into this excellent facility after such a long time. Expanding this school to create 50 more places means this school will offer first-rate facilities to children with complex needs from dozens of extra families in Norfolk.'

Stephen Askew, Norfolk County Councillor for Guiltcross, said: 'I'm sure Chapel Green School will be welcomed into the wider school community locally and be able to strengthen its existing links with its new neighbours Old Buckenham Primary and Old Buckenham High. Pupils from all three schools will have the opportunity to share resources and in some cases learn together. The much needed development will be a major asset to the pupils and staff alike with potential benefits for the wider community.'

The school's chair of governors, Terry Hickman Smith, said the development was 'wonderful' news.

He said: 'The new school will not only benefit Chapel Road pupils, parents and staff but all youngsters with complex needs in South Norfolk. We look forward to working with the two existing schools and the wider Old Buckenham community.'

The school lost its 'outstanding' status from Ofsted last December, and was told it 'requires improvement'. The education watchdog said preparations for the move had 'in some respects detracted' from its analysis of some of its provision.