Planning permission for the stand-alone facility at Paddox Primary School had already been secured and final approval for the specialist provision was given at this week’s September 10 cabinet meeting of Warwickshire County Council.
The unit will focus on educating children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 with the intention to help them gradually increase their time in mainstream lessons until they can attend with lower levels of support.
By the end of Year 2, a decision will be made as to whether they can successfully move into mainstream education, continue to be supported or go to a different setting such as another mainstream school or special school.
Cllr Colin Hayfield (Con, Coleshill South and Arley), the council’s portfolio holder for education and learning, explained: “It will provide a space for around ten children, there may be more later. This will be the eighth provision of this type and it is part of a strategic program of how we can develop more of these in the future.”
There will be two teaching areas in the unit, two group rooms, a sensory room, toilets, a social area and a staffroom. An external area will be adapted to the needs of the children, who will be provided with a protected area to play.
A report to the cabinet meeting explained that the children would also work to a different timetable from the main school, arriving at 9.15am and leaving at 2.15pm. It is hoped that these differences will reduce the impact on traffic and parking around the site.
Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston) said: “This gives a more localised approach towards SEND provision and if you can get more localised then you are not transporting children all across the county - or sometimes outside of the county - and that can only be better for the children in the long run. It is also better on our finances when it comes to transport.”
Of the seven similar units attached to mainstream schools, two are in North Warwickshire, two are in Nuneaton & Bedworth and there is one in Rugby, Warwick and Stratford.