Date Published: 21 February 2020
A brand new learning space for Rutland children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is beginning to take shape at Uppingham Community College.
The Government has committed £215million of capital funding to help local authorities create new school places and improve existing facilities for children and young people with SEND, in consultation with parents and providers.
Having been awarded just under £700k of SEND Capital funding, Rutland County Council is working with Uppingham Community College, building contractor Steele & Bray and architects GSSArchitecture to repurpose parts of Uppingham Community College – transforming them into a bespoke learning environment for local children with SEND.
This work began in November 2019 and celebrated a significant milestone last week [Friday 14 February 2020], following the installation of a centrepiece roof light for one of the main SEND classrooms.
“Having worked on numerous projects at Uppingham Community College, we are delighted to be back and working as Architects on this hugely important SEND refurbishment scheme. The installation of the new 2.7m x 2.7m raised pyramid roof light is a significant milestone for the project and will further enhance the building by providing natural light, ventilation and a spacious feel to the room whilst creating an important link to the exterior.” James Webster, Special Projects Lead at Kettering-based GSSArchitecture
Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and to ensure sufficient good school places for all pupils, including those with SEND.
Currently, a number of children and young people with SEND attend schools outside of Rutland. The new SEND school facility at Uppingham Community College aims to provide places for up to 10 young people in Rutland who have communication and interaction needs, including those on the Autistic Spectrum, enabling them to learn in an adapted mainstream school environment that is better suited to their sensory needs.
“It’s wonderful to see this innovative and sensitive facility taking shape. A great deal of work has been done since November and you can now begin to get a real sense of what the new learning environment will be like for students and teaching staff. This is an important facility because it will allow our children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to access an excellent education in a mainstream school setting – meaning they are able to build relationships and socialise with their peers while also receiving the specialist support they need.” Councillor David Wilby, Cabinet Member for Education at Rutland County Council
Work on the new SEND provision at Uppingham Community College is being carried out in phases to ensure minimal disruption to students at the school.
The work is expected to be completed by April 2020, ready for a September 2020 intake of Year 7 students.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Uppingham Community College and the young people of Rutland. Through this partnership, we want to establish a centre of excellence for SEND provision, where young people with communication and interaction needs are integrated into mainstream secondary education.” Ben Solly, Principal of Uppingham Community College