Abbots Langley school to offer an additional 48 places to pupils with severe learning disabilities
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An Abbots Langley school is to offer an additional 48 places to pupils with severe learning disabilities – by taking over unused space at a nearby primary school.
Breakspeare School, in Abbots Langley, had been due to permanently relocate to a new site in Croxley Green, from January (2024), with a planned expansion from 97 to 210 places.
But with the new site no longer expected to be ready until some time in the 2025/6 academic year, plans have now been drawn-up for the school to operate an additional satellite site in the grounds of Holywell Primary, in Watford.
And on Monday (September 18) those plans were given the go-ahead by the county council.
As a result, from January, the single-storey block at Holywell Primary – including six classrooms and sensory room, as well as small group rooms and staff accommodation – will be used as a 48-pupil satellite site by Breakspeare.
The two schools will remain completely separate – with no teaching spaces currently used by Holywell being used or shared with Breakspeare.
And when the new Croxley Green site is ready, the Breakspeare children will relocate to the new building.
Presenting the proposals to a meeting of the cabinet, executive member for education, libraries and lifelong learning Cllr Caroline Clapper highlighted the need for school places for children with severe learning disabilities.
And she said the satellite site would mean 48 extra places would be available from January.
“This is another really strong message that we are deeply committed to providing places across the county to those children with special educational needs and disabilities,” she said.
“Couple this with our £5m investment into our back office, it means that we can deliver these places to those who need them the most, but in a very timely manner.
“This is a really excellent news story and once again another creation of special places – and places that will be delivered very quickly.”
Breakspeare – which is part of the Sunflower Federation of schools – is currently based on Gallows Hill Lane Abbots Langley.
But once construction is complete, it will move to the ‘Durrants School Former Playing Field’ site, on Manor Way, Croxley Green.
It was reported to the meeting that the ‘significant infrastructure project’ was currently in the ‘advanced design stage’ – with a target completion in the first half of the 2025/5 academic year.
And endorsing the plan, leader of the council Cllr Richard Roberts told the meeting: “I’m delighted the Sunflower Federation – which is the federation of a few schools – has got the vision to think creatively and, with ourselves, making sure that that can happen.
“I am delighted the Breakspeare School is expanding onto a new site in Croxley Green.
“This temporary accommodation will help that with the numbers, as Caroline Clapper set out and we heard about it in earlier items.
“[…]This just shows that we can be hugely dynamic when we want to be – and doing that on behalf of our children with SEN is most important.”
As noted in the cabinet report, Breakspeare has already increased the places it has available – from 97 to 105 – by operating another site from the Meadow Wood Special School, in Bushey.
It was also noted in the report that should the building at Holywell Primary still not be needed for mainstream purposes when the Breakspeare children move out, it could remain available for children with severe learning disabilities.