The Department for Education has today confirmed Thomasson Memorial Special School has been prioritised for the School Rebuilding Programme (SRP).
The School Rebuilding Programme carries out major rebuilding and refurbishment projects at school and sixth-form college buildings across England, with buildings prioritised according to their condition.
Thomasson Memorial Special School is one of very few schools of its kind, supporting children from 13 different local authorities, some of whom have very complex needs.
Maintenance problems have caused significant disruption to learning, including flooding from a burst pipe which forced the school to relocate to the Haliwell UCAN Centre in 2022.
This incident prompted a 486-signature petition from parents and the National Deaf Children’s Society calling for the school to be completely rebuilt.
Thomasson had been due to temporarily relocate for a second time after asbestos fibres were discovered in a ceiling cavity.
I would like to thank the parents, staff, governors, DfE partners and everyone involved for their hard work in getting this decision over the line.
However, now its place in the SRP has been confirmed, the school will relocate to more suitable temporary accommodation ahead of the DfE providing a timetable for the SRP works.
Headteacher Lisa Lane said:
“I am immensely pleased that the Department for Education has not only acknowledged but truly understood the challenges we face on a daily basis.
“Their commitment to addressing these issues through the creation of a new build demonstrates a genuine dedication to supporting our children in their learning journey.
“This collaborative effort marks a significant step forward in shaping a brighter future for Deaf education.”
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Martin Donaghy, said:
“We have known for some time that the school building is no longer fit for purpose, and I am delighted that the DfE is now of the same view.
“The hard work and dedication of the outstanding staff has been making up for the building’s shortcomings, but it is time these pupils get the facilities they deserve.
“I would like to thank the parents, staff, governors, DfE partners and everyone involved for their hard work in getting this decision over the line.”