New 160-place SEND school plan for derelict site hailed as ‘big thing’ for Mansfield

Councillor Andre Camilleri, right, pictured with Ben Bradley MP
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A new 160-place school for children with special educational needs on a derelict former Mansfield school site have been hailed as a “big thing” for the town.

Nottinghamshire County Council will draw up plans to create the new SEND school on land which used to be the Ravensdale School, in Mansfield, prior to its demolition.

The disused land was demolished after the former middle school closed in 2001 and has remained derelict for several years.

It has now been selected as the preferred site as the Conservative-run authority looks to draw up wider plans for 400 more SEND places in the county.

And Councillor Andre Camilleri (Con), who represents Mansfield South, has welcomed the proposal and the benefit it could bring to the town.

The politician says he showed council officers around the site more than a year ago and put it forward because it has sat disused for such a long time.

He believes it will be “fantastic” for the town and will benefit both the children and nearby schools.

“It’s a big thing for Mansfield so I took officers around to see the plot of land about a year ago,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“It’s an empty, former school that was sitting there vacant so it will be the perfect site for it.

“A big SEND school coming to Mansfield will be fantastic for the town and for the children.

“We’ve got a lot of SEND children who come from a lot of different schools so it will also help other schools and the children too.”

He added: “Our district, along with Ashfield, has the greatest need for this type of school.

“It’s where more than 40 per cent of children with special needs live, so it really is terrific and life-changing news for local children and parents.”

The demolished Ravensdale School site. Credit Google Maps

Plans for a new SEND school have been in the pipeline since 2019 with Ollerton or Hucknall initially selected to take on sites.

Ollerton eventually became the preferred location for a new school but a selected site was found to have contamination issues and problems with space.

The authority also found there was more need for SEND sites in Mansfield and Ashfield, where 41 per cent of all Nottinghamshire children waiting for SEND spaces live.

The two districts also accounted for 37.3 per cent of all new education, health and care plans between 2018 and 2022, the authority adds.

Issues with the Ollerton site meant the council needed to find an alternative site and now it has confirmed the former Ravensdale site will be its chosen location.

The council says a new special school on this site could be delivered by September 2025 and would have the capacity for 160 places.

Its focus would be a “very specific and specialist learning environment” for pupils with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs.

The council says a number of design elements would be included during construction.

Classrooms would factor in acoustic performance, ‘escape space’ and sensory zones and would allow children to “recalibrate their senses” as they travel through the building.

The authority says it plans to make the new school carbon-neutral with solar panels installed alongside air-to-water heat pumps.

The total cost of the new school has not been revealed and will be outlined at a later date.

But the authority says more than £20m has been provided by the Government to boost SEND provision in the county.

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