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Bury St Edmunds: Official opening for pupil referral unit First Base

14:00 10 December 2012

The official opening of the new First Base facility in Bury. Staff L-R: Judi Bush (headteacher), Dawn Marshall, ALexandra Sevindi, Claire Hargrave (deputy headteacher), Samm Sadler and Margaret Kidd.

The official opening of the new First Base facility in Bury. Staff L-R: Judi Bush (headteacher), Dawn Marshall, ALexandra Sevindi, Claire Hargrave (deputy headteacher), Samm Sadler and Margaret Kidd.

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A NEW £600,000 centre to support pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties has been officially opened in west Suffolk.

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The opening ceremony for First Base, a pupil referral unit in Airfield Road, Bury St Edmunds, took place on Friday with a range of people including headteachers and local authority representatives.

The new unit, which is for children aged from three to seven or eight and serves the whole of west Suffolk, has replaced one in Brandon.

Headteacher Judi Bush said by being based in the more central location of Bury they could offer the same service to all of the children in the western area of Suffolk.

“The whole purpose of what we do is to support the children to enable them to do as well as possible in school and by being where we are now we can do that in a much more equitable way than what we were doing.”

She added how the new location should also save time for staff who previously were doing a lot of travelling.

Ms Bush said the unit worked with children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties who were all in mainstream schools.

They receive support in their school and also come to the unit two days a week.

“The idea is we help them with their difficulties well enough for them to go back into school and be as successful as they can,” Ms Bush said.

The unit also works with younger children at their pre-school to stop a problem before it reaches primary school.

As well as the benefits of the location, the new centre, in a brand new building, offers improved facilities such as a play area.

Ms Bush, who said they had been looking for a new venue for six years, said: “We really are thrilled to be able to do it and very appreciative of how the local authority has enabled that to happen really.”

Graham Newman, cabinet member for education and young people at Suffolk County Council, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

He said the unit had an outstanding record and the young people who benefited from its work rarely needed extra support later on in their school life.

“There’s a lovely feeling in the place. You just know they [staff] are completely dedicated to what they do,” he said.

Children have been using the new unit, which is run by the local authority, since June.

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