springfield special school in Crewe

Plans to expand a special school in South Cheshire and provide an extra 80 places for children with severe learning difficulties look set to be approved next week, writes Belinda Ryan.

Springfield School in Crewe is the only school in the south of the borough for children and young people with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

There are currently 170 pupils at its Crewe site and Cheshire East Council is hoping to increase the number of places to 250 by September of next year.

A report due to go before Monday’s meeting of the children and families committee states: “Springfield School is one of our most popular and successful special schools, it was rated outstanding by Ofsted in February 2019.

“The expansion will provide more places for children within their local community, allowing them to build friendships with people who live close to them and spend less time travelling.”

Many of the children and young people at Springfield School have complex needs, including health needs, and the council says Springfield is well placed to meet these.

It is now full and operating slightly over capacity by 30 places.

Fourteen pupils are currently being accommodated in temporary leased accommodation on the Apollo Buckingham site, but that provision will end in July 2023.

If the expansion isn’t provided, the report states, ‘alternative schools are likely to be out of borough, and are likely to be expensive independent schools with extended journeys for children and young people for which the council will have to provide transport’.

The council has £6 million allocated for school place provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities in the 2022-26 medium term financial strategy.

The report recommends using about £4m of this block funding for this project to address what it terms “the critical demand for special school places in the south of the borough”.

A decision will be made at Monday’s meeting of the children and families committee at the council’s Westfields HQ in Sandbach.

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