Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Book Icon

£6m boost for specialist school places

A photo of Mayor Andy Preston at the site of the Discovery Academy

A major investment in the future of Middlesbrough children with special educational needs has been confirmed as efforts continue to ensure students can learn in the best possible environment.

Mayor Andy Preston and his Executive today approved the £6.2m package which will support an extra 70 places for secondary school children with severe learning difficulties.

The places will be provided via a further phase of the Discovery Special Academy, which is currently being built on Sandy Flats Lane alongside the former Nature’s World site.

The new purpose-built school is due to welcome its first primary-aged students in September.

It’s hoped the secondary-aged students would attend the new academy from 2025. In the interim period the extra 70 places would be provided at temporary accommodation at Brambles Primary Academy.

Katrina Morley, chief executive of Tees Valley Education Trust, said: “It’s wonderful news that, through our work with the council and Department for Education, we’re able to extend to secondary aged children the same opportunity that we currently offer to those of primary age.

“During the consultation period, feedback from parents and carers was overwhelmingly positive and this key decision will support a range of families and the community across Middlesbrough and surrounding areas for generations to come.”

Deputy Mayor Mieka Smiles, who is also Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “All children regardless of their individual needs deserve to learn in the best facilities possible.

“We are seeing a high demand for specialist places and it’s a real positive for the future of our young people that we’re able to work alongside the experts at Tees Valley Education to cater for this need.

“Discovery Special Academy is going to be an incredible school and we’ll continue doing all we can to show Middlesbrough children that they matter.”

Middlesbrough is experiencing ongoing pressure for school placements in specialist settings. At present, some pupils have to be educated in settings outside the town.

An increase in demand for places for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is forecast to continue.

The £6.2m is provided to the Council from the Department for Education.

Tees Valley Education has received approval from the Regional Schools Commissioner to increase its age range, allowing it to accept secondary students.

Alongside the investment in extra SEND places, Executive approval of the School Capital Funding report also confirms almost £700,000 for roofing, structural and drainage works at Council-maintained primary schools.