New school for autistic children planned in Harrogate
May 24, 2023
Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate, which is at risk of closure.

North Yorkshire Council has revealed plans to open a school for autistic children on the site of the former Woodfield Community Primary School.

The school in Bilton closed at the end of last year and has been empty since.

A council report prepared for a meeting next week recommends consulting on plans to re-open the school in September next year.

The school would cater for up to 80 students with autism aged 11 to 19. A total of £3.5 million would be spent on upgrading the site.

The report says there is “no short to medium-term need to re-establish additional mainstream places in Woodfield” but the number of young people with identified SEND and an EHCP has increased by over 110% in North Yorkshire since 2016.  It adds:

“The site at Woodfield offers the opportunity to create this provision and give this group of children access to suitable peer groups and academic challenge in order to reach their aspirations.

“This would provide children and families with a more local offer of provision than is currently unavailable without significant travel.

“The planning assumption is that the new provision would ultimately operate with a capacity of around 80 pupils and would serve an age range of 11 to 19.”

The report adds there will be “no changes” to the community library and children’s centre on the same site.

Councillors will vote next week on whether to accept the recommendation and begin consulting on the plans.

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