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Plans to Boost Special Needs Education

Plans to invest in and enhance education for South Tyneside children and young people with special education needs are set to be discussed next week.

Members of the Cabinet will consider proposals to re-locate Epinay Business and Enterprise School in Jarrow to the site of the former South Shields School which closed last year. The proposed move is subject to the Council carrying out work to re-design two thirds of the school of the building and grounds to make them suitable for young people with special needs.

The re-location of Epinay would allow the school to increase the number of pupils gradually from 170 to a maximum of 215 pupils over the next five years. Eventually this will allow more children in the future to receive their education in the Borough instead of having to travel to school in neighbouring authorities. Approval from Cabinet could see pupils move into the new site next April, demonstrating the Council's commitment to supporting families and young people in need.

Children with a greater range of special educational need will also be catered for by Epinay on the new site.

Chris Rue, Headteacher of Epinay School said: "This is a very exciting move for Epinay children, our staff team, governors, parents and carers. We are striving to create an outstanding educational provision for children with special educational needs.

"The fact that we can open up more school places to more children in south Tyneside is so important. We look forward to working with the local authority to ensure this exciting project gives our children state of the art facilities they deserve - the very best."

A report to Members highlights that consultation on the proposals with parents, staff and other schools amongst others has been very positive.

Beverley Scanlon, Head of Learning and Early Help, said: "The Council is committed to supporting families and giving every child the best start.

"There is rising demand in the Borough for places for children and young people with special educational needs and this proposal means that we can meet their needs in what will be a really fabulous new learning environment at the new site."

Cabinet will meet to discuss the proposals on 14 July.

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