Two new special educational needs units at Stowupland High School and Mendlesham Primary School have taken in their first cohort of pupils.

The purpose built 'Mulberry' units at the John Milton Academy schools were funded by Suffolk County Council, with teaching being delivered by special educational needs and disability (SEND) provider SENDAT.

Students at Stowupland High School moved into their new building on November 1.

%image(15114559, type="article-full", alt="Year 7 pupils enjoying a drama lesson in the new purpose built SEND unit at Stowupland High School")

Peter Whear, the school's executive headteacher, said: "These units benefit the whole school - the SEND students receive a high-quality education in the new units and other students benefit from learning and working with the new students.

"Our new pupils are really enjoying the experience and absolutely love their new classrooms - they are thriving."

The two units will provide 18 school places at each school with potential to increase this to 24.

Both units include two large classrooms, break out areas and social facilities for pupils.

Tessa Sait, executive headteacher at Mendlesham Primary School, said: "These new SEND units, specialising in cognition and learning, have increased the capacity for places in the Stowmarket area and have helped localise the provision for those with special educational needs.

"It means more children in the area will have access to SEND schooling closer to home."

She added: "The children have integrated really well and have been sharing playtimes, assembly and lunchtimes to widen their friendship groups."

%image(15114560, type="article-full", alt="Year 7 pupils outside the new SEND unit at Stowupland High School - another SEND unit has been built at Mendlesham Primary School")

Rachel Hood, cabinet member for SEND, education and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: "These new classrooms will make such a difference to children who have additional, and sometimes complex, educational needs.

"They are part of our £45million investment to create 870 new SEND places for children and young people across Suffolk."

%image(15114561, type="article-full", alt="The Executive Headteacher at Stowupland High School said that SEND pupils at the school "absolutely love" their new classrooms")

Lawrence Chapman, chief executive at SENDAT, said the units were already making "a significant difference".

"We are delighted to be supporting mainstream schools to broaden their provision," he said.

"The units are already making a significant difference to the lives of students and their families.

"Working in partnership like this ensures the staff have the specialist support from SENDAT and the students have access to mainstream lesson where it is appropriate for them."