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West Sussex County Council Allocates 20m For New Woodlands Meed College

15th February 2019 | By West Sussex County Council

Strong collaborative work between West Sussex County Council and the Governing Body of Woodlands Meed special school in Burgess Hill has helped move a new college building a significant step closer.

At today’s Full Council meeting (Friday, 15 February 2019), it was agreed that up to £20m of funding would be allocated within the council’s Capital Programme to rebuild and expand the college on its current site.

Woodlands Meed is a special school and college offering individualised care and learning for over 250 pupils aged 2-19 across two sites.

The current college building on the Birchwood Grove site has a number of suitability issues. It means some of the 15-19 year olds taught there have to go off-site to other schools for some lessons.

Over many months a huge amount of joint work has been going on behind the scenes to find a solution. A feasibility study last summer looked at a number of options and it was agreed that plans to create a new build college with sports hall on the same site would be progressed.

Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “This major step forward underlines the county council’s firm commitment to creating a learning environment that meets the current and future needs of pupils at Woodlands Meed.

“I know parents and pupils have been eagerly anticipating news on the college site and a key part of getting to this exciting stage has been the excellent joint work with the school’s Governing Body.

“We look forward to continuing this work and engaging with pupils, parents and staff as we progress the project, with the aim of opening the new building in September 2021.”

Earlier this week, Mr Burrett gave the go-ahead for £0.5m of council funds to be spent on producing costed designs.

The project is in line with the council’s SEND Strategy 2016-2019, which aims to provide high quality education provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities whilst providing value for money.

A representative of the Governors said: "We are delighted that we are on track to deliver the new college building by September 2021, and that all the hard work by Governors and West Sussex County Council officers is coming to fruition.

“In anticipation of this decision we had already started work on the concept design, listening to pupils and staff. Our pupils have a clear and realistic idea of what they need in the new building and we are looking forward with enthusiasm to working collaboratively to deliver it.”

Work will now start on the appointment of the design team to produce initial designs ready for wider consultation.

Parents and carers will be fully updated on the building’s progress on the school website

For more reaction, see the 'Complete Woodlands Meed' campaign team's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CompleteWM/

Spread the word, Woodlands Meed have entered West Sussex County Council's capital program with £20 million identified for a new building

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What's your reaction to the news that Woodlands Meed's proposed new college building is looking like becoming a reality?

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