How a new centre is helping children with special needs develop their career prospects

A new skills facility to support the career progress of youngsters with special needs is gearing up to open its doors to the public for the first time.

Hanlon Court. Park View School.  Picture by FRANK REID
Hanlon Court. Park View School. Picture by FRANK REID

Bosses at Park View School’s Vocational Centre, in Hanlon Court, Jarrow, will give guided tours and advice to children and their parents during two information days next week.

They have overseen the installation of state-of-the-art equipment to support the teaching of topics in key employment sectors for students aged 14 to 16.

These are welding, performing engineering operations, vehicle mechanics and building skills – and instruction in health and safety and functional skills is also available.

The centre, a sister site of Park View School in Temple Park Road, South Shields, will support learners with challenging social, emotional or mental health difficulties.

Opening fully in September, it aims to deliver skills to help them better compete for jobs against those from a mainstream education background.

Billy Bell, the facility’s head of service, said: “This is an important new centre for skills learning in South Tyneside.

“I’ve personally been trying to get a specialist centre of this kind open in South Tyneside for a decade – it’s happened at just the right time.

“It is targeting young people who may struggle in mainstream schools but who want to learn vocational subjects.

“We are operating from a big unit that is packed with the equipment they need to learn.”

Park View School won permission from South Tyneside Council planning chiefs last year to open the centre on the Royal Industrial Estate.

As well as delivering skills, it will serve to alleviate existing pressure on places at the South Shields school, which has an extensive waiting list, and on other borough schools.

Catering for learners with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties (SEMH), its three-strong teaching team can guide 12 children a day.

They have designed a learning programme based on the national curriculum but with additional support elements.

Leaders at Park View School chose Jarrow as the centre’s location due to a lack of specialist teaching support or SEMH pupils in the town.

The open days are from 9am to 5pm on Wednesday, June 12, and Thursday, June 13.

More information is available by calling Mr Bell on 07891 141 284.