July 5, 2021 3.28 pm This story is over 12 months old

Lincoln special needs school major expansion approved

Up to 130 places for SEND children

Plans for a major special educational needs expansion for Lincoln St Christopher’s School have been approved.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation Committee gave the go-ahead to the authority’s proposals to build a dedicated new 130-place primary school on the site of the former Usher Junior School which was demolished in 2012.

Lincoln St Christophers’ original building will also be extensively redeveloped and remodelled to provide specialist secondary age education.

A “poor, unsuitable” block of accommodation will be demolished and replaced by a two-storey build of classroom spaces, a new large hall with changing facilities and specialist medical room.

Meanwhile the new primary school will include 15 classrooms, with four being specifically for “non-ambulant” pupils. There will also be therapy spaces such as sensory and soft play, a large hall and a hydrotherapy pool as well as physiotherapy and medical rooms.

Kyna Adkins, head teacher, told councillors the build was a “significant opportunity” for St Christopher’s.

“The new school design proposal aims to bring the real world to life in a safe and secure school setting, giving students access to spaces and facilities that will teach them the key life skills,” she said.

She said staff were constantly “constrained” by the existing building which could overwhelm the students – some of which have autism and other special needs.

She added it had “limited break-out spaces, narrow corridors, inaccessible rooms and very old heating and lighting systems.”

“I believe we need to invest in our children so that they are more likely to be able to make a positive valuable contribution to our community, when they become adults,” she said.

How the new school building could look.

The build is part of £86 million investment across the county to create more than 500 SEND places across the county.

The school’s capacity is currently 200, however it teaches 228 pupils supported by around 90 staff members.

The revamp and build will see the total capacity increase to 333 across both sites – with around 70 staff at each location.

A memorial marking the tragic death of a teacher at the school to be maintained at the new school.

No objections have been received to the new school build. However, neighbours to the expansion have raised concerns including loss of privacy, a reduction in light and inadequate boundary fencing.

Committee vice chairman Councillor Tom Ashton said: “This is very clearly a welcome contribution to local education provision.”