Plans to rebuild special education school in Stevenage approved
PUBLISHED: 08:25 23 September 2020
A Stevenage secondary school for children with learning difficulties – that’s “falling down around the children’s ears” – is set to be rebuilt, after the project was backed by councillors.
The Valley School, on Broadhall Way, offers places to 153 pupils with learning difficulties, autism, speech, language and communication needs.
But some of the school buildings are already in such bad condition that they cannot be used. And there have been times when the school has had to be closed so repairs could be made.
Education bosses at the county council have drawn up proposals for the school to be rebuilt to the rear of its existing site – which would leave up to three acres available for alternative use.
On Monday, September 21, Herts County Council’s cabinet backed these plans after discussing the financial element of the scheme in private.
At the meeting, councillors were told that replacement accommodation at the school was “urgently required”.
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It was reported that other schools in the county for children with learning difficulties were already full – and that without the rebuild there would not be enough places to meet future demand.
Executive member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris said the school was already “long past its healthy life span” and that it was currently being “patched up” so it would last another couple of years.
He said the new school – which would have places for 165 pupils – could be ready as early as autumn 2022.
Cllr Douris added: “There are times in your life when you think this is a good news story – and I have to say this is a really good news story.”
Cllr Phil Bibby – who represents St Nicholas in Stevenage – also backed the project.
“It’s an old 50s-60s type school that is falling down around the children’s ears,” he said.
“So rebuilding on the existing site is by far the best option – so thanks for all in education for deciding this way.”
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