Extra sixth form places in £1m special school expansion plan

By Gurdip Thandi | Walsall | Education | Published:

A special school in Walsall is set to get the nod for a £1million expansion to allow it to take in 35 more sixth form students.

Castle Business & Enterprise College. Picture: Google

Castle Business and Enterprise College, in Odell Road, Leamore, Walsall, will get a three-classroom modular building which will enable it to increase the number of pupils.

The news comes after it was revealed action is required to improve “significant weakness” in support for children with special needs in Walsall.

A report released last month says that a written statement of action is now required because of “significant areas of weakness” in the local area’s practice.

And last year two Walsall schools had £3m expansion plans scrapped and five more face delays.

Leighswood School in Aldridge and Salisbury Primary School in Darlaston will no longer be expanded and Manor Primary School, St Michael’s CE Primary School, Short Heath Federation, Mary Elliot and Oakwood will be expanded, rather than 2019 as planned.

Walsall Council’s cabinet is expected to approve the proposal at a meeting next Wednesday, which will then be subject to planning permission being granted.

Bosses say there is a need for more special school places in Walsall and a detailed SEND review will be carried out to assess the current provision across the borough. Around £1 million cash for the extension scheme will come from the Government’s Basic Needs fund.

The school, which is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, is already being expanded by 30 at a cost of £3 million following approval by cabinet members back in October 2017.

A report to cabinet said: “It is of crucial importance to the council’s strategic objectives that the young people of Walsall are able to access the right provision to meet their needs.”

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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