£310,000 of funding has been approved by the local authority to allow Waterloo School in Havant – a special school for pupils with special educational needs aged between 5 and 11 years old, to expand its specialist education provision in south east Hampshire, with the creation of an extra eight places in Gosport, for children with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH).
Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, agreed the funding at her latest decision day meeting held on 26 February 2020 and commented: “I am very happy to support the recommendations and authorise this investment so that we can increase our ability to provide specialist school places for children and young people, with special educational needs, nearer to where they live.”
The funding will allow the County Council to reuse and refurbish a vacant building at Woodcot Primary School in Gosport, to create an open plan teaching space, a kitchenette facility to support the development of life skills, as well as staff and pupil toilet facilities and office space. This will enable The Waterloo School to deliver support for children with SEMH needs in Gosport and the surrounding area.
Outside, landscaping work will be undertaken to provide an outdoor play space and there will be work to the car park to provide a drop-off bay for minibuses and taxis in the car park, as well as additional parking for Waterloo School staff.
For pupil safety, security measures will also be installed, including fencing, vehicle entry and exit barriers to Woodcot School which shares a pedestrian and vehicle entrance with the neighbouring Key Education Centre, an education centre for secondary school age children (11 to 16 years).
Work is expected to start in late March 2020, with the new building ready by mid May 2020. The school will remain fully operational throughout the planned works, with contractors working closely with the school to minimise the impact on teaching and learning, as far as possible.