Three of the borough’s schools for pupils with special educational needs are to benefit from major expansion plans.
Bolton Council has approved proposals to create extra classrooms and additional facilities at Ladywood and Green Fold primary schools, and Rumworth High School.
Based in Little Lever, Ladywood School is an ‘outstanding’ school for pupils with complex learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder.
It can currently accommodate around 100 pupils but the intention is to create an additional five classrooms in order to potentially take the school’s capacity to a maximum of 130 pupils.
Depending on pupils’ individual needs, class sizes can vary from six to 10 children.
The school, on Masefield Road, has recently benefited from an extra temporary classroom, created in time for this year’s intake, but ultimately requires a permanent solution to be able to meet demand.
In addition, as part of longer term plans, the council is also in discussion with the adjacent Masefield Primary School and Nursery about creating a new school hall and kitchen for Ladywood.
If feasible, this would involve remodelling Masefield Primary so it could accommodate the nursery and a new purpose-built hall for Ladywood would be built on the vacant site.
At Green Fold School in Farnworth, which is also 'outstanding', the proposal is to create an extra classroom on the Upper Orchards site in order to boost capacity to 130 pupils.
Similarly, Green Fold has benefited from recent expansion with the addition of three new classrooms and these new proposals will provide enough capacity for pupils to progress through the school.
Another 'outstanding' school is Rumworth School, which is for pupils aged 11-19 years old with complex needs and learning disabilities.
Not only does it share a site with Ladybridge High School, off Armadale Road, it also shares dining facilities, a kitchen and internal PE facilities.
Due to Rumworth’s popularity, extra classrooms were urgently needed in time for the new term in September but were created at the expense of the staff room and offices. Therefore, in order to create a more permanent solution the school requires 11 new classrooms and its own hall and dining facilities by way of an extension.
In addition, the work will enable a remodelling of the car park and the pupil drop-off and pick-up areas will be relocated within the school site instead of being situated on the public highway.
Cabinet Member for Education and Schools, Cllr Kevin McKeon, said: “These are three schools that provide an excellent learning environment for our children in the borough who have special educational needs. However, they currently have limited capacity and would benefit from structural improvements in order to accommodate the demand for places and to enhance the physical space for those who already attend.
“This is a very exciting prospect for all three schools and the planned refurbishments are certain to improve conditions for both pupils and staff alike. Improving the car parking arrangements at Rumworth will also have a positive impact on users and nearby residents. Each school has benefited from expansion as part of a first phase of works, but we are now in a position to enter phase two with funding from the Capital Programme.”