Epinay Business and Enterprise School for children with special needs could relocate to former South Shields School site by April 2022 if plans approved

Plans to move a school for children with special needs into a closed former education complex are set to be discussed by senior councillors.

By Ross Robertson
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 5:30 pm
South Shields School closed on August 31, 2021
South Shields School closed on August 31, 2021

South Shields School, in Nevison Avenue, closed its doors for good in 2020.

It came after the school was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and failing to win an academy sponsor, alongside falling pupil numbers.

South Shields School closed on August 31, 2021

The school was re-built in 2011 under the terms of a £24million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal - which commits it to repayments worth £400,000 a year until 2036.

Members of the cabinet will now consider the relocation proposals, which would be 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.

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.”

South Tyneside Council said 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.

Officers said 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, which the council said would demonstrate its commitment to supporting families and young people in need.

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

A report to cabinet members highlights consultation on the proposals with parents, staff and other schools among others has been very positive.

Beverley Scanlon, head of Learning and Early Help at the council, 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 Epinay move proposals on 14 July.

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