Local MP Luke Hall, and South Gloucestershire Council Leader Toby Savage took the call for a £2.3 million investment in Thornbury schools to Ministers last month, as the pair presented an ambitious plan for the future of Marlwood secondary to the Minister for Schools Lord Agnew.
The meeting which was secured by the local MP, saw the pair present the Council’s plan to make better use of the existing site in Alveston, as well as ways in which the local authority could deliver on its priority to see improvements in quality and capacity for those children with the most complex educational needs.
The plans come as result of the efforts of the MP and Council leader on the Council’s bid to see a new 112 place special educational needs free school serving 2-19 year olds, which gained Department for Education sign off earlier in the year, and which will seek to educate and support children with severe learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders.
It is estimated that the capital required could be within the region of £4 million, with the Council and the trust making a significant contribution to the sum.
However the MP and Council have pressed the Government to support the scheme with a further £2.3m injection into the Marlwood site to secure the plans.
This latest move by the Council comes as part of a huge wider package of investment into special educational needs capacity and education which includes;
- SEND Capital Investment Grant: 2018/19 – 3 year £1.2m to increase local provision reducing reliance on out of authority specialist provision. The Chase opened in Sept 2018 providing new post 19 provision using this grant.
- Warmley Park Special School: An investment of £5.8m providing 32 additional places and refurbishing and updating the existing building to provide an improved teaching and learning accommodation for children across the age range.
- Pathway Learning Centre: A major scheme totalling £2.67m to relocate to a new site previously occupied by the Downend Day Centre. Major remodelling and refurbishment to provide purpose-built facilities.
- Pegasus Free School: A successful bid submitted jointly between SGC and SGSC to provide a new Special Free School in Patchway. Pegasus Free School opened September 2017 to provide 80 places for children with ASD aged 4 – 19. The capital project is being delivered by the DfE.
- New Siblands: The provision of an additional 8 SEND Nursery Places for children with SLD supported with an investment of £0.255m. Additional classroom accommodation, refurbishment and mechanical and electrical works totalling £0.337m.
Local MP Luke said;
“It was a great opportunity to present our case to the Minister as to the importance of this scheme not just to those at Marlwood but also the difference a purpose built school for special needs would make to those families within our communities with children with the most complex learning difficulties. I will always continue to back our areas ambitious plans for our schools at the highest levels.”
Councillor Toby Savage said;
“The proposals we have presented directly to the Minister have the pupils in our local community front and centre of our priority to see investment in our schools, and to see local standards rise. As Leader, I have been clear on our ambitions to ensure that no child is left behind, and a key part of that is increasing capacity for our most vulnerable children right here in South Gloucestershire. We made a strong case for this extra £2.3m investment into the Marlwood site, and hope the Minister will agree, and provide us with the funding to secure it”.