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WORK on new school buildings to create sufficient places for SEND pupils into the future is due to start.
Wiltshire Council strategic planning committee members voted to approve the plans for Silverwood School at its Rowde campus, as it intends to extend the existing campus to provide a high quality provision for 350 pupils by September 2023.
Plans for the school, which combines the former Rowdeford School in Rowde, Larkrise in Trowbridge and St Nicholas in Chippenham, received opposition from parents when announced, who said that the central school was too far to travel for pupils.
Following approval, the work will include creating a ‘school within a school’ feel with a community of small teaching clusters that will provide a range of specialist teaching spaces, therapeutic support, and quiet dining. Also planned is a hydrotherapy pool, a new all-weather sport pitch, new playing fields, landscaping, and ecological enhancements.
The designs were informed by feedback from a series of workshops and online meetings with the school community, local people, families and staff.
The planning green light was given subject to ratification from Natural England of the “appropriate assessment.” This is a document submitted to Natural England to demonstrate that the council acting as a competent authority in accordance with the regulations is satisfied that there will be no adverse impact on wildlife.
Enabling works to prepare the site will begin in February 2022, with the start of the main construction works in March 2022.
Cllr Jane Davies Wiltshire Council cabinet member for SEND said, “This is an important milestone in ensuring we have enough places to create a first-class education for our SEND pupils. I’m delighted we can now start this important work.
“We will continue to keep everyone involved as we embark on this important work and I look forward to seeing this exciting project evolve.”
Sean McKeown, headteacher at Silverwood School said, “This is great news for all pupils at Silverwood School – both those attending now and in the future. Our school community across all three campuses have been involved in shaping these plans and we all look forward to seeing plans on paper become excellent facilities which will make a real difference to all our pupils and help meet a real need for additional spaces for the future.”