Cash will go to special needs in Portsmouth

The winning team - from left: Oscar, Benjamin, Rain and Alex

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EXTRA cash has been given to support children aged 16 and over with special educational needs in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Council has been successful in helping secure more than £800,000 of capital funding from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) on behalf of Highbury and Portsmouth Colleges.

The funding is the result of a bid made earlier this year to the 16-19 Demographic Growth Capital Fund 2013-15.

It will provide refurbishment of the ground floor of Highbury College’s Arundel Centre to create a specialist learning space for young people with acute behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. This will cost roughly £453,000.

There will also be a new extension to Portsmouth College to provide a purpose-built space for eight to 10 young people with physical disabilities or severe learning difficulties. This will cost £360,000.

The new provision is expected to be available from September 2015.

Councillor Rob Wood, is the cabinet member for children and education at the city council.

He said: ‘We are pleased to have helped secure this funding for Highbury and Portsmouth colleges, knowing just how much it will help to improve learning environment for special needs pupils and those with physical disabilities.’

Stella Mbubaegbu, principal and CEO of Highbury College said: ‘Our new innovative speciality learning space at Highbury Arundel will be one of the first of its kind in Portsmouth.

‘Students will gain excellent employability skills to support their progress within education and prepare them for the future.’

Portsmouth College principal Steve Frampton said: ‘We are delighted that Portsmouth College will now be able to provide education to young people with physical disabilities and/or severe learning difficulties in appropriate specialist and dedicated accommodation.

‘This project will meet an identified shortfall, within the city of Portsmouth, of appropriate post-16 places for these important members of our community.’