Plans proceed for Coventry special needs school to move to site of former academy - The Coventry Observer

10th Aug, 2022

Plans proceed for Coventry special needs school to move to site of former academy

Felix Nobes 1st Nov, 2018 Updated: 1st Nov, 2018

PROPOSALS to bring the site of a Coventry school closed in controversial circumstances back into use have moved a step closer.

Woodlands Academy boys’ school was merged with Tile Hill Wood Academy girls’ school in 2016 despite public protest and council criticism.

Falling intake and an arrangement to create a multi-academy trust to save both schools which fell through resulted in the effective closure of Woodlands Academy.

The council aims to use the now vacant Woodlands site as a new home for Woodfield School – one of the city’s schools for those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Plans were heard by councillors at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (October 30) and will go to a decision at a full council meeting in December.

The old Woodlands school grounds contain Grade II listed buildings which complicate any plans to rebuild the site, while it remains fit for purpose as a school.

The council is set to undertake a feasibility study to consider the site’s suitability and then seek planning consent to transform the old site into an education and community sports village.

A report considered by the Labour-controlled cabinet also outlines plans to approve the Woodfield Primary and Secondary school sites – on Hawthorn Road and Stoneleigh Road respectively – for residential use.

This would contribute to the costs of moving the schools to their new joint site.

Small scale housebuilding could also occur on the Woodlands site if necessary to finance the move.

The council estimates the cost of the project could be around £15million.

A full public consultation will also be undertaken, the council says, with parents and the local community to have their say on the move.

Councillors say the plans would help meet the growing demand for SEND places in Coventry, as well as catering to increasing numbers of students with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The move would mean the school could introduce shared working practices for both primary and secondary education as well as improving facilities for pupils, the reports states.

Cabinet member for education and skills councillor Kevin Maton said: “We always stated publicly that we wanted to retain the Woodlands site for educational and sports use for the community and this proposal gives us an exciting opportunity to do just that.

“We face a challenge in Coventry to meet the demand for more school places for children with special educational needs, particularly social, emotional and mental health (SEMH).

“We know the two Woodfield sites can’t meet the additional demand, and there are considerable concerns about the quality of their buildings, but by sharing a site we can give the children and young people access to an improved curriculum and the better resources for learning that they deserve.

“I must stress however that we are just at the start of a process, the most important part of which will be a detailed consultation with Woodfield parents and the Woodlands community.”

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