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New school for children in Dorset with special needs

child special needs

Published at 10:53am 15th April 2019.

Planning permission is being sought for a temporary two-storey building for a new school for children with special needs near Bovington.

The Department for Education has submitted proposals for a ‘modular’ building which will allow Harbour School to take its first students in September.

It says there is “a clear educational need” for the new school and is proposing the temporary structure until a permanent facility is completed at the end of 2020.

The new school, on the site of the former Bovington Middle School, will be run by Delta Education Trust and its plans had been backed by Dorset County Council – before its abolition and replacement by Dorset Council – and the Department for Education.

Photo of old Bovington Middle School Site

An application for the demolition of existing buildings has already been submitted and now plans for the temporary two-storey school building have been put forward.

“The development of the temporary school has been carefully considered to ensure it makes the best use of the existing configuration of the site and access to it,” a planning statement submitted with the Department for Education says.

“In this way, the proposed modular classrooms and associated access and parking require very little remedial work once the temporary buildings are no longer required.”

The new building would have eight classrooms as well as a range of other facilities and would give the school a capacity of 40 students.

Delta Education Trust says that once the permanent structures are in place it will have a “phased increase” up to 160 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 19.

“A clear educational need for a new SEN (special educational needs) school in this part of Dorset has been identified by Dorset County Council,” the planning statement adds.

“There is currently no provision in this part of the county for students with a SEN profile of social, emotional and mental health needs, autistic spectrum disorder and/or cognition and learning.

“Currently students have to travel, sometimes significant distances, to the nearest SEN provision.”

Bovington Middle School closed in 2013. The trust is aiming to have the first students of its replacement through its doors in September.

The planning application will be considered by Dorset Council planning officers in the coming weeks.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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