New special school hopes demolished

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Hopes an overcrowded Alfreton school for students with learning difficulties would be rebuilt were dashed when it missed out on Government funding.

Staff say Alfreton Park Community Special School, which teaches 72 students with severe and complex learning difficulties aged three to 19 years old, is “not fit for purpose “ and more space is desperately needed.

After the £8 million Building Schools for the Future scheme was scrapped in 2010, Alfreton Park hoped to benefit from the £2 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) - but last week discovered it missed out to neighbouring Alfreton Grange Arts College - one of 261 schools across the country which will be rebuilt under the latest scheme.

Headteacher Rosemary Mackenzie said: “Our premises are not fit for purpose and we desperately need more space and better facilities to meet the needs of our young people.”

Over the last 18 months the school has been fundraising to replace the building which houses the school’s hypnotherapy pool. The Raise the Roof Campaign has collected around £19,000 but needs to hit a £200,000 target.

Associate headteacher Cheryl Smart said: “It’s an old building that’s far too small for the amount of pupils we have here. Lots of the children have equipment like walking frames and wheel chairs that take up space.

“The population goes up to 75 in September, and it is very cramped.”

Aldercar Community Language College, Wilsthorpe and Bramley Vale Primay School were also unsuccessful in the undisclosed bid by Derbyshire County Council.

Councillor Mike Longden said: “I am delighted for Alfreton Grange but of course I am disappointed that the other four deserving schools missed out on funding.

“We will be talking to those schools to try to find alternative ways to address the issues they have.”