'Unavoidable' loss of playing field will pave way for special school

As reported by Chronicle Live, plans are forging ahead to build a new special school on a playing field in Gateshead

The loss of a local playing field has been labelled ‘unavoidable’ as Gateshead Council strives to build a new special school.

Councillors said that, if plans don’t go ahead, children with special and complex needs would have to be sent outside of the borough for their education.

The plan is to close Gibside School and relocate pupils to a new site on Shipcote playing field.

This is due to a huge demand for places. The new school is expected to cost £12.1m, but the price would be far higher for the council to send children outside of the area to attend school.

The new school will also allow 170 pupils, rather than the current limit of 130.

Many have complained about the loss of the playing field – including Sport England – but the council said this can’t be avoided.

It added that the field hasn’t been maintained or used formally for years.

The new school is set to include a ‘sensory courtyard’ and a hydrotherapy pool to cater for the needs of children with profound and multiple learning disabilities. It is expected to open in autumn 2020.

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