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£1.4 million new centre will take special needs school to having 'some of the best facilities in the country'

PUBLISHED: 16:29 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:08 12 October 2019

Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services John Fisher breaking the ground on the site of a new �1.4 million therapeutic centre at Sheringham Woodfields School.
Photo: CHRIS TAYLOR

Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services John Fisher breaking the ground on the site of a new �1.4 million therapeutic centre at Sheringham Woodfields School. Photo: CHRIS TAYLOR

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A groundbreaking ceremony held at a Norfolk school for children with additional needs marked the start of a £1.4 million building project aimed at improving the prospects of youngsters with disabilities, ranging from cerebral palsy, to autism.

Sheringham Woodfields pupil Brooke celebrating the start of building work on a new £1.4 million state-of-the-art therapeutic centre.
Photo: CHRIS TAYLORSheringham Woodfields pupil Brooke celebrating the start of building work on a new £1.4 million state-of-the-art therapeutic centre. Photo: CHRIS TAYLOR

The project will see a state-of-the-art therapeutic centre built at Sheringham Woodfields School, which caters for 111 pupils aged from three to 19.

Funded as part of a £120 million Norfolk County Council (NCC) scheme to transform special educational needs provision across the county, the new centre will feature a flexible, fully equipped sensory integration studio and a main hall kitted out with an Olympic-sized, sunken trampoline and other specialist equipment.

Sheringham Woodfields School head teacher James Stanbrook and Willow class pupils. 
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSheringham Woodfields School head teacher James Stanbrook and Willow class pupils. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

It will also include a range of smaller rooms which will be used for one-to-one therapy sessions.

Woodfields head teacher James Stanbrook said the new centre would allow the school to offer more therapy sessions to its current pupils, as well as freeing up space for an additional two classrooms accommodating a further 24 pupils, the first of whom will arrive early next year.

11-year-old Liam having fun on the trampoline with teaching assistantsNeen Roos and Nicola Smith who are trained rebound therapists.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL11-year-old Liam having fun on the trampoline with teaching assistantsNeen Roos and Nicola Smith who are trained rebound therapists. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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"The project will mean better outcomes for our children," Mr Stanbrook said. "It will improve access to therapies, give us better facilities to deliver them and, importantly, it will reduce the pressure on families looking for a special school place."

Sheringham Woodfields pupil Yasmina celebrating the start of building work on a  new £1.4 million state-of-the-art therapeutic centre.
Photo: CHRIS TAYLORSheringham Woodfields pupil Yasmina celebrating the start of building work on a new £1.4 million state-of-the-art therapeutic centre. Photo: CHRIS TAYLOR

The school, which has been rated outstanding by Ofsted, is now working on sourcing funding to create an outdoor activity area from an overgrown patch of land on the site of the new building.

Mr Stanbrook said: "We are already an outstanding school, but this project will raise our status as having some of the best facilities in the country."

Guests at the groundbreaking ceremony included Woodfields staff and pupils, and representatives from Norfolk County Council and Sheringham Town Council.

NCC cabinet member for children's services John Fisher said the new centre would give children and young people in the area the education they "need and deserve".

He added: "With the growing demand for specialist school places, we are determined to improve what is here in Norfolk, which is why we are investing £120 million into transforming special education needs places in schools across the county."

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