SOUTH Tyneside education chiefs say the borough is leading the way with special educational needs provision for children, with a new £5.6m centre due to be handed over within weeks.
Park View School and The Beacon Centre is the final project in the borough completed under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.
The scheme concludes the BSF programme in the borough, which has seen more than £175m invested since 2008 in new, remodelled and refurbished secondary, special and primary schools in South Tyneside.
After the recent launch of the £10m Keelman’s Way School in Hebburn, the latest development is helping to make South Tyneside a regional leader in special schools’ provision.
Coun Joan Atkinson, the South Tyneside Council’s lead member for children, young people and families, moved a report on the latest school project at a meeting of the local authority.
She said: “South Tyneside has some of the best accommodation for children with special needs in the region.”
The two new facilities will be housed in one building, in Temple Park Road, South Shields, sharing a site with St Wilfrid’s RC College and the OpenZone City Learning Centre.
Park View School will replace Galsworthy School and The Beacon Centre will replace St Mary’s Centre Alternative Education Service.
Housing 50 pupils, aged 11 to 16, with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, the new complex will also include 35 places for pupils, aged 11 to 16, who have been referred to the Alternative Education Service.
Each facility will have access to its own classrooms, social spaces, dining areas, outdoor play spaces and office accommodation.
Subjects which will be offered to children will include sciences, music, technology and art.
The new complex meets all the latest equality and diversity standards and its energy efficiency will help the council reduce its carbon footprint.
The new building is due to be handed over on January 7.
Other recent educational projects have included the complete rebuild of Jarrow School, a major refurbishment of Hebburn Comprehensive and a half-rebuild of Harton Technology College.