Special school set to double in size as part of county-wide initiative to make specialist education more accessible

Exciting times ahead for Willoughby School headteacher James Husbands. Photo by Lee Hellwing
Exciting times ahead for Willoughby School headteacher James Husbands. Photo by Lee Hellwing
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Exciting times ahead for Willougby School headteacher James Husbands Photo: Lee Hellwing

Under the proposals, Willoughby School, an all-age special school in Bourne which caters for pupils between the ages of two and 19 with profound, severe and complex learning needs, will grow from its current size of 79 pupils to 135 pupils.

The expansion will see the school gain additional classrooms and specialist facilities at its site in South Road to meet the growing demand for special school places.

Funding for the work will come from Lincolnshire County Council, which has committed to minimising the travel for pupils with additional needs while enhancing its current provision – currently only 30 per cent of special education needs (SEND) pupils in the county attend their nearest school. But this number is set to rise with 14 of the county’s special schools becoming ‘All Need’ providers.

Headteacher James Husbands said: “I am delighted that Willoughby is included as part of this SEND strategy. Demand for special school places in Bourne and Lincolnshire is extremely high, and the proposals mean that young people in Lincolnshire that require a special school place will be able to attend their local special school.

“Willoughby School prides itself in meeting the specialist needs of the community local to Bourne, including The Deeping, Stamford and Sleaford. Through these proposals the All Needs, community provision and ethos of Willoughby, will be replicated throughout Lincolnshire.

Chairman of governors, Andrew Hancy, said: “After the presentation in Bourne about the proposed strategy, there was an open and honest discussion, and all parents and carers with children at Willoughby School were overwhelmingly in favour of these proposals. They are enthused about the future direction of the school and the benefits this will bring to both our current and future pupils.

“Over the last few years James Husbands has built on the strengths of Willoughby School and has already ensured we are able to meet the needs of children with wide-ranging educational and complex health needs.

“We are also proud of our collaborative working relationships with local mainstream schools. We therefore feel we are already well established to support the future vision of ‘All Needs, All Age’ provision within the local community.”