Work will get underway this year on two new classrooms at Cann Bridge School on the Tor Bridge Site in Estover, to help cope with the increased demand for school places with pupils with Autisim.
The funding totalling £630,000 will come from the Council’s Capital Investment Programme.
Cann Bridge school was originally built to accommodate 72 pupils but currently has 83 (63 under 16’s and 20 Post 16) who access the site.
This project aims to design and build an extension to meet the needs of post 16 pupils who have a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) in addition to a learning disability. The extension will provide two new classrooms with associated dining and social areas.
The decision was approved by Council Leader Tudor Evans who said: “This is an extremely important project. As Plymouth grows so too does the need for additional school places that can accommodate children with Autisim.
“We know that there is an increasing number of pupils that find it difficult to cope in a traditional style classroom and require an individually tailored education package. Historically this has always been purchased out of the city, and due to the specialist nature of the education this is usually out of the South West region as well.
“By investing in the new building we will be able to maintain our local offer for this small but highly vulnerable group of young people enabling them to stay at home with their families at post 16 by increasing the number of under 16’s permanent places available at the school.”
Michael Loveman, Headteacher at Cann Bridge School said : “We are delighted at this news which demonstrates the Council’s determination to provide the very best education and support for the children of Plymouth. The plans for the new Post 16 provision are fantastic and once built it will allow the school to develop the independent living skills and work related learning curriculum even further to benefit the young people once they leave. We know the school is privileged to be receiving this level of support in these times of Government austerity but it is something the young people need and deserve.”
The need for additional places at Cann Bridge was identified as part of the Council’s special educational needs/disability (SEND) review in Plymouth that was approved by the Cabinet earlier this year.
There are currently 2000 children in Plymouth with a statutory statement of special educational needs and the SEND review of education provision will make sure the Council is providing the best provision for their needs now, and into the future as Plymouth expands.