Sheffield College Peaks Campus to reopen as specialist high needs education centre
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The college has today (December 5) announced the move, saying the new facility will open in September 2024, a year since the closure of Peaks Campus took place. It will have long-term capacity for around 300 high needs students aged 16 to 24 from across the city, the announcement said.
The closure was opposed by students, members of Sheffield City Council and South East Sheffield MP Clive Betts. They said the campus was vital for students with special needs and the only local further education provision.
Families of 300 affected students, including 65 high needs learners, were unhappy at having to travel to Hillsborough or City Campuses.
The college said that the decision follows on from consultation around the closure. It said earlier this year that the closure decision was taken because the campus was expensive to run and was under-utilised.
Management said that staff were not put at risk of losing their jobs and were offered redeployment to other campuses.
Today’s announcement said the new centre will provide a curriculum that prepares students for adulthood, independence, employment and community participation.
The campus on Waterthorpe Greenway will at first cater to 100 students and then look to expand, giving extra capacity rather than replacing it. The building will be adapted to meet the needs of the students with facilities such as quiet spaces, sensory rooms and an independent living suite.
Angela Foulkes, college chief executive and principal, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Sheffield City Council and other experts in the city to lead on the launch of new high needs provision at our Peaks Campus.
“We are delighted that Peaks Campus will be retained for educational purposes and will continue to play a vital role in the community and city and that we have a long-term, sustainable solution for the site.
“The transformation of the campus into a new facility that young people and the city needs will ensure that no one is left behind and enable us to provide more places for students who have high needs.
“We are committed to preparing young people for adulthood and employment and supporting them to develop their independence.
“We will offer students the very best experience in a supported environment that is bespoke to their needs. We are consulting with experts in the area, local schools and community partners to ensure our offer is fit for purpose and meets demand.”
Coun Dawn Dale, chair of Sheffield City Council’s education, children and families policy committee, said: “We are pleased that The Sheffield College want to develop Peaks Campus in this way. The Sheffield College and the council recognise the growing numbers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and are taking action to support them.
“Peaks Campus would offer a brilliant opportunity to increase our post-16 provision for young people with SEND and support our young people to fulfil their ambitions for adulthood.
“There is a huge amount of potential for this to be an innovative and exciting development involving partners across the city. We look forward to working with The Sheffield College and our partners, and seeing this ambition become reality.”