School expansion will keep special needs pupils within Rotherham, councillors told
A Rotherham school for pupils with special educational needs is to be expanded to provide 20 additional places in a move which will help to keep some pupils within the borough for their classes.
The Willows School will grow to accommodate 120 pupils, from its current headcount of 100, with a sixth form to be created for the first time.
It provides an education for those with special educational needs and disabilities and the sixth form will provide facilities for post 16 students who have until now been educated outside the town.
The move has been approved by the council’s ruling cabinet, following consultations, and members have been told in addition to providing more local education for Rotherham youngsters, it will also be more cost efficient for the council.
Work will also be done at The Willows to provide the additional accommodation needed, but the expansion is only the first phase of a plan which should see another 125 school places created for SEND pupils by 2021, which should stem the rising numbers of children needing specialist educational help who are educated outside the town.
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A report to Cabinet members said: “The implications of not having enough SEND provision in the local authority area are that there are rising numbers of Rotherham children with special educational needs and disabilities having their needs met in provisions outside Rotherham.
“This means some of the most vulnerable children have to travel the furthest distance to school.”
The Willows is currently rated as a ‘good’ school by Ofsted and takes children in the seven to 16 age range, which will be expanded up to 19 with the sixth form.