A SCHOOL in Calne is looking to expand to help with the increased demand for children with special education needs and disabilities.

But one former pupil’s mum is concerned that it should be focussing more on improving what it already has after Ofsted rated the school as requiring improvement in 2016.

The Springfields Academy in Calne is consulting on three proposed changes.

These are to increase the number of pupils from 120 to 150 by September this year, widening the age range to allow younger pupils from the age of five to attend, and to establish a satellite provision at Figheldean, near Amesbury.

Following a review of special school provision, Wiltshire Council concluded there was a need for additional SEN provision in the south of the county, and invited applicants to open new satellite provision.

Springfields was the successful bidder.

But mum Jenny Slade from Amesbury, who took her son out of the school in 2015, said that it should prioritise its improvements.

“I have nothing against the school. I think it’s a great school, if they get their priorities right”

“They should sort out their Ofsted rating before opening a satellite school. If they are not dealing with the issues they have now, nothing is going to change.”

A spokesman for Springfields Academy, said: "We have made huge improvements at Springfields since the last full inspection in 2016.

"These include, in broad terms: the quality of the learning environment for all, the quality of provision and therapeutic support for our primary aged children, and the quality of advice, guidance and pathways as we prepare our older pupils for their safe, independent lives. We are confident that the next time Ofsted come to visit us they will recognise these improvements.

“Springfields is part of Reach South Academy Trust. Being part of a family of schools means that we are now able to draw on a wider pool of educators to support the growth of the new school. This is a really exciting development for children and families in the area and we are very much looking forward to opening this much-needed new school in September, in the south of the county.”

“The plan is for the new school to open in September, and will mean that children who have had to travel considerable distances, will now have an SEN school that can meet their needs much closer to home. This, we hope will support the whole family, is something very important to us.”

“Lots of children and families travel considerable distances to come to Springfields, and having a new school in the south of Wiltshire will make life a lot easier for many. Children should be in schools nearer their home communities, not in taxis - sometimes for up to three hours a day - as they are currently. We will also be able to offer support to new children and families too, given that we are expanding the age range from 7-18 to 5-18. This builds on our belief that the earlier we can start our work the better the chances of success.”

Comments can be made until Monday, June 11 at: www.springfields.wilts.sch.uk/our-academy/current-consultation/.