Specialist school lined up in Harrogate
A former primary school site will be reworked in a £3.5m conversion to provide for autistic students aged 11 to 19.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive has this week signed off on plans to take forward the project at the former Woodfield Road primary school site, with the aim of opening in September 2024.
The project is to have £3.5m allocated to it from the £20.5m SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) budget approved by the council in May.
Woodfield Road CP School closed in December 2022 due to low pupil numbers. The site is secured.
North Yorkshire’s SEND capital programme has been set up to meet shortfalls in the sufficiency of the council’s specialist provision, and meeting shortfalls in the ability of young people to access that provision.
This is the second project to advance, with a free special school in Northallerton approved by the Department for Education in March this year. The total of £3.5m for secondary autism provision has been ringfenced, although not specifically for the Woodfield Road site. Other sites had been considered.
Consultation was carried out, with 90 of the roughly 100 responses in favour of the proposals.
In the financial implications section of the report, it is noted that “officers are cognisant that pressures currently being experienced within the construction sector could impact upon the precise design and capacity that the Council is able to take forward”.
At the executive meeting, Cllr Paul Haslam requested that the large playing fields at the school be considered for dual access, to potentially allow community use of the fields. Cllr Michael Harrison welcomed the retention of the library and community building as part of the plans.