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Work under way on new £700,000 learning space for children with special needs at Uppingham Community College




A new learning space for Rutland children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is taking shape at Uppingham Community College.

The Government has committed £215million of funding to help local authorities create new school places and improve facilities for children and young people with SEND, in consultation with parents and providers.

Having been awarded just under £700,000, Rutland County Council is working with Uppingham Community College, building contractor Steele & Bray and architects GSSArchitecture to repurpose parts of the college – transforming them into a bespoke learning environment for youngsters.

Councillor David Wilby, Rutland County Council, Cabinet Member for Education at Rutland County Council, reviews the newly installed roof light at the new SEND provision at Uppingham Community College
Councillor David Wilby, Rutland County Council, Cabinet Member for Education at Rutland County Council, reviews the newly installed roof light at the new SEND provision at Uppingham Community College

The work began in November last year and celebrated a significant milestone last Friday (February 14) following the installation of a centrepiece roof light for one of the main SEND classrooms.

James Webster, special projects lead at Kettering-based GSSArchitecture, said: “Having worked on numerous projects at Uppingham Community College, we are delighted to be back and working as Architects on this hugely important SEND refurbishment scheme.

"The installation of the new 2.7m x 2.7m raised pyramid roof light is a significant milestone for the project and will further enhance the building by providing natural light, ventilation and a spacious feel to the room whilst creating an important link to the exterior.”

Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and to ensure sufficient good school places for all pupils, including those with SEND.

Currently, a number of children and young people with SEND attend schools outside of Rutland. The new SEND school facility at Uppingham Community College aims to provide places for up to 10 young people in the county who have communication and interaction needs, including those on the autistic spectrum, enabling them to learn in an adapted mainstream school environment that is better suited to their sensory needs.

Coun David Wilby, cabinet member for education at Rutland County Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see this innovative and sensitive facility taking shape. A great deal of work has been done since November and you can now begin to get a real sense of what the new learning environment will be like for students and teaching staff.

"This is an important facility because it will allow our children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to access an excellent education in a mainstream school setting – meaning they are able to build relationships and socialise with their peers while also receiving the specialist support they need.”

Work on the new SEND provision at Uppingham Community College is being carried out in phases to ensure minimal disruption to students at the school.

The work is expected to be complete by April 2020, ready for a September 2020 intake of Year 7 students.

Ben Solly, principal of Uppingham Community College, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for Uppingham Community College and the young people of Rutland. Through this partnership we want to establish a centre of excellence for SEND provision, where young people with communication and interaction needs are integrated into mainstream secondary education.”

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