Great Britain

Plan for new building at Appleton Academy, Wyke, for SEN provision

PLANS for an extra building for special educational needs (SEN) provision at a Bradford school have been lodged.

The application, for Appleton Academy in Wyke, outlines proposals for a new single-storey building with three classrooms.

Last year, it was revealed the school would create extra places for secondary aged children with communication and interaction needs, including autistic spectrum disorders.

Under current Government legislation, Councils are not allowed to build new schools - only academies and free schools can provide new schools.

It means Bradford Council has to expand existing schools to provide new SEN places in the district.

The application says: “The school needs to accommodate for students with special educational needs who have difficulties in teaching environments.

“The proposal would see the construction of the school building, on Woodside Road, providing an additional 18-21 spaces for pupils.”

It says the proposed building would sit around 15 metres from the main building and would include classrooms, as well as facilities like toilets and a kitchen.

It adds: “The school already host SEN students in a room they refer to as the ‘hub’.

“It is close to the external steps on the first floor and provides the opportunity for the class bases in the proposed modular and the existing students to mix and for staff to potentially move easily between the two elements.

“What seems to greatly benefit these students is access to external space so the location of the unit provides this access readily.

“The site is an existing school site with extensive green spaces to the south and east.

“It is considered that the proposed application for expanding the school will be of benefit to the pupils.

“The additional SEN spaces will also be of benefit to the people of Wyke and the surrounding neighbourhood, as well as the Council.”

A report to Bradford Council’s decision-making Executive earlier this year said Bradford had seen a “significant increase” in demand for SEN provision in the last 10 years.

A meeting heard there had been a nationwide increase in children being diagnosed with special educational needs.

In Bradford alone, around 600 extra SEN places have been created in recent years.

Another meeting, held at the beginning of January this year, heard Bradford Council is likely to be given an order to improve when its services for young people with special educational needs is inspected.

SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Transformation and Compliance Manager, told members: “We still have some way to go, and we are working on some areas as a priority.

“If we do have a SEND inspection soon, there is a good chance we will get a written statement of action.

"This will highlight to us the areas where we will be expected to progress rapidly. We will likely receive a written statement of action.

"Part of that will see us put in a period of monitoring for 12 months.”

A Written Statement of Action is determined by Ofsted where the education watchdog believes a local area needs to takes urgent steps to accelerate progress.

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