Willoughby School in Bourne to benefit from Lincolnshire special needs spending boost
A school in Bourne is set to expand as part of a £50m capital investment programme to boost special needs teaching across the county.
Lincolnshire County Council has submitted plans to extend Willoughby School by an extra 68 places as part of its Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) strategy.
Willoughby School headteacher James Husbands told the Mercury: “We are delighted that Willoughby will be expanding to meet the growing demand for special education in the locality of Bourne.”
The council’s strategy seeks to create an extra 500 spaces across the county as existing SEND schools are suffering from increased demand.
This means pupils are having to make long journeys to school, which damages their education and links to their communities.
The planning application said: “This capital investment would also provide enhanced premises and facilities, enabling the school to offer places to more pupils from Bourne and the surrounding area with a much wider range of needs.”
Over the past five years, the number of pupils requiring such education has increased three per cent a year and half the special needs schools in the county are “functioning beyond their physical capacity”.
“The Willoughby School, Bourne has experienced significant growth over the last few years; consultations for school places regularly exceed place availability and the school has been required to accept students beyond their physical capacity to ensure they can be educated locally.
The new build and remodelled premises will see staff numbers increase from 79 to 100.
Work on the project is targeted to start in Spring 2020.
At present, 25 children and young people living in Bourne attend a special school outside the town. Some have their needs met at a specialist autism primary school, but others must travel because there are no places locally.
The application continued: “At present, the school is designed to meet the needs of children with severe learning disabilities and profound and multiple learning disabilities. Once the capital investment programme is complete, the school will be able to meet a much wider range of needs, including those with moderate learning difficulties and autism.”
It added: “The proposed changes will have a significant positive impact for the school. The planned new build will provide extra capacity, create much needed teaching spaces, increase classroom numbers and sizes and enhance the outside play