St Francis Special School in Fareham hopes for multimillion-pound boost for improvements

A FAREHAM school for children with special educational needs is hoping to receive a £4m cash boost to undergo a major revamp.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 1:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th July 2019, 7:06 pm
St Francis Special School is hoping Hampshire County Council will agree to proposed improvement plans.

Hampshire County Council bosses are to meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposed investment of £4,394,000 into St Francis Special School.

If given the go-ahead, the money will be used to build four new classrooms with accompanying hygiene rooms and toilets. Improvements to the existing building would include the refurbishment of five classrooms to become specialist learning spaces and developments to the central circulation space, including a new ramp to improve access. As part of the plan, staff parking and pupil drop-off areas would be developed along with improvements to pupil play areas, including new surfacing and access ramps.

The proposed investment comes after a council report found the school, which is off Patchway Drive near the A27,  is in ‘need of significant improvement’. The report stressed that the proposed works would not increase the school’s capacity but would ‘significantly improve’ facilities for the 93 pupils. The document said the school was built in 1977 to accommodate pupils with moderate learning difficulties but that classrooms are now undersized and require improvements to meet ‘the increasingly complex needs of the pupils’.

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The report says: ‘The works are required to address shortcomings in the existing accommodation. The proposals would also provide improved accessibility, additional ancillary teaching spaces and hygiene facilities.’ The school provides specialist education for children aged between two and 19 who have severe and in some cases multiple learning difficulties.

A planning application has been lodged and a decision on that is expected this month.  If given the green light, work could start this year with improvements finished by 2020. The school site would remain in use during the construction period with measures put in place to manage health and safety including restrictions on the movement of construction and delivery vehicles at the start and end of the school day.

St Francis is in an educational federation with the nearby Heathfield Special School which provides education for primary pupils with moderate or severe learning difficulties.