A new school has been officially opened in Warwickshire for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The special school is already open to students but was formally opened at a ceremony attended by local councillors, educational staff and Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice on Tuesday May 10.
A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: "The Warwickshire Academy in Ash Green has been re-purposed to include all the features of a modern school and will provide places for 80 children, from the ages of 9 to 19, whose complex needs mean that they cannot be accommodated in mainstream settings.
"It features flexible classroom space, food technology and science rooms, and a new sports pavilion and gym. The centre was out of use for several years before becoming Warwickshire Academy and needed extensive remedial work to bring it up to a modern standard. Students attending the new school will benefit from bespoke support and individualised timetables to best support their needs."
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, formally cut the ribbon to open the school.
Cllr Seccombe said: “We’re delighted to be opening a new school to support the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in Warwickshire. The additional 80 places at Warwickshire Academy will ensure that we not only meet the growing demand for SEND provision in the county, but that we also increase our capacity for specialist support for children and young people whose needs cannot be met within mainstream school.
“The school is committed to delivering the best education possible for its students while working actively with them, their families and the community. The facilities at the school are outstanding and will provide our young people with a supportive environment that will allow them to thrive.
“I would like to thank everyone for the role they have played in making Warwickshire Academy a reality and I know that this multi-million-pound investment will benefit hundreds of children and young people for many years to come.”
Richard Chapman, CEO of Thrive Academy Trust, said: “We are delighted that The Warwickshire Academy is now open and we can welcome our first cohort of students. They are already showing great progress and engaging positively in all aspects of their school life. The facilities we have really support the Social Emotional and Mental Health needs of our students and provide opportunities for them to flourish.”
A parent of a current pupil at the Warwickshire Academy said: “He is happier that I have ever seen him about school, he always comes in with a smile on his face and comes home very happy. We are really pleased with everything you are doing for him”
Back in September, Ofsted and the CQC carried out an inspection of the county's SEND provision and said there were 'significant weaknesses'.
Since then, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice have worked together to address these concerns.