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Council sets aside £18.75m to provide more specialised school places

James Hockaday

Funding for hundreds of specialised school places was approved at a Slough Borough Council (SBC) meeting last night (Monday).

Cabinet agreed for £18.75m to be allocated to create 203 new Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) places in the next three years.

Out of the funding, £1.2m would be used to refurbish the Thomas Grey Centre in Queen Court which will be leased to Haybrook College.

SBC plans to give the Burnham Lane college 33 per cent of land from a vacant site next door and to give it £3.6m for an extension and new hospitality and catering unit.

This is expected to create 10 new SEN places and 40 PRU places.

At the meeting, non-cabinet member Councillor Wayne Strutton (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill) said: "We've been told by the previous leadership that there were no sites in Slough that could cater for bigger SEN schools.

“There very much were as is being shown by the plans at the moment.

"I would like to thank the current administration for actually seeing potential in this site and putting it to good use."

Cabinet agreed to allocate £13m to build new SEN units at Priory School and Marish Academy, and to create an annex on the current Arbour Vale School in Farnham Road.

The council also plans to move St Anthony's Field, near Arbour Vale School, into the council's housing revenue account (HRA).

In return SBC would dispose land in front of Arbour Vale School to use for its expansion.

All projects will be delivered by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), a partnership between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd.

SBC commissioner for education Councillor Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) said: "Slough has some of the best schools in the country with results regularly in the top 10 and this funding will build on this success.

"These expansions will provide additional SEN and PRU places to meet the rising demand and will mean fewer pupils are placed outside of the borough."

Councillors also discussed the old town centre library site's redevelopment, the Tuns Lane Regeneration Project, SBC’s welfare policies and procuring a new fleet of environment services vehicles.

The meeting took place in St Martins Place in Bath Road.


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