New life for county's smallest school
By Dave GooderhamA PLAN to convert the smallest school in Suffolk into a unit for young pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties has been welcomed by community leaders.
By Dave Gooderham
A PLAN to convert the smallest school in Suffolk into a unit for young pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties has been welcomed by community leaders.
Just months after it was closed, Gazeley Primary School, near Newmarket, will be turned into a new unit to help pupils between eight and 13 cope with issues affecting their education.
As part of a £1.4million investment programme, it is hoped the unit will accommodate a dozen pupils and open next year.
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West Suffolk MP, Richard Spring, said: “I don't think there will be any concerns in the village as everyone recognises there is a need for this kind of facility.
“I think parents who have children with learning problems will be very pleased more spaces have now become available.
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“I am very pleased the school will be used in this way and I support the plans in principle. There is a shortage of places for young people with these kind of behavioural problems.”
After a lengthy battle, Gazeley lost its primary school in April with just 16 pupils left on the register.
Resident Tracie Crascall, who led the campaign to save the school, said she felt fellow villagers would approve of the new plan following fears the building would be knocked down to make way for housing.
Suffolk County Council said the Gazeley Centre would support pupils, parents and schools in west Suffolk and deal with young people who suffered from emotional or behavioural difficulties and had difficulty in coping with the demands of mainstream education.
As the building will continue in educational use, the council said it did not have to apply for planning permission for the new centre. Staff are expected to be appointed in the New Year, with the unit open by the middle of next year.
The council will be hosting an open day next Wednesday to answer questions from residents about the development.
Displays and examples of other similar units in the county will be shown from 3pm at the former school in Mill Road, while a public meeting, chaired by county councillor Jane Andrews-Smith, will be held at 6.30pm.
Anyone with questions or comments about the plan should write to Tony Sale, Senior Education Officer, Western Area Education Office, Suffolk County Council, Shire Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1RX, before December 6.