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Major plans for new school in Nottinghamshire approved

A major scheme to build a new school in Mansfield for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has moved a significant step forward after councillors gave the plans the green light today (Tuesday 12 March).

The new school will be built on the former Ravensdale School site in the town and will have capacity for up to 160 pupils across the 7 to 19 years age range.

It is being designed, project and cost managed by Arc Partnership, a joint venture between Nottinghamshire County Council and SCAPE, with construction being undertaken by Morgan Sindall. The school is expected to open in 2025.

Nottinghamshire County Council says the purpose-built facility will provide a specialist learning environment for children with social, emotional, and mental health needs.

Ravensdale SEN School 1 scaled

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The project is part of a wider programme being delivered by the county council to create up to 490 additional SEND school places by 2026 to address the growing demand for more specialist school places across the county.

Mansfield and Ashfield districts have seen the largest increases in the number of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) between January 2019 to January 2023.  Together the two districts account for 35.8% of all new EHCPs.

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Councillors gave their approval for the scheme at a meeting of the county council’s Planning and Rights of Way Committee – a move welcomed by Councillor Sam Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

He said: “It’s great news that planning consent has been given for this state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility, and is a significant step forward in making sure we have sufficient places for our SEND children across Nottinghamshire.

“Building a school like this will provide a specific and specialist learning environment for pupils with autism and social, emotional, and mental health needs.

“It is also a key aim of our SEND place planning strategy to help more young people to access the education they need, near to where they live.

“As a council, we are committed to meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND, and their families, and to investing in providing much-needed special school places in Nottinghamshire.

“I would also like to thank my colleague, Councillor Andre Camilleri, who identified this site and has been pushing for a school of this type in his division for more than two years. I know he’ll be delighted the application has been approved.”

Dan Maher, Managing Director at Arc Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be working with Morgan Sindall to deliver further additional SEN provision on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council.

“We are focussed on delivering real value together and this school will be key to benefitting both young people and wider communities across the county.”

Sensory zones and calm spaces are just some of the design elements included in the construction of the new facility to ensure it is tailored to the children’s needs and complement learning.

Each key stage will be accommodated in either four or six classrooms to promote a ‘small school’ feel along with satellite dining spaces ‘to avoid children being overwhelmed by larger central facilities’.

Separate building entrances will also be created to address the sensory needs of pupils.

The purpose-built school will also boast two all-weather pitches with sports equipment storage buildings and a tarmac multi-use games area, as well as car parking and a drop-off area for minibuses.

Six spaces for electric vehicle (EV) charging will be provided in the staff car park and four, including one for a disability parking space, in the visitor car park.

It is expected that the associated cost of delivering the new school will be funded from the Special Schools capital programme.

From 2021 to 2023, the county council has provided an additional 97 specialist educational places, with an investment of more than £5m.

The council has also contributed to the Department for Education’s rebuild of Yeoman Park Academy in Mansfield Woodhouse to secure an additional 28 places by early 2025.

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