HEADTEACHERS of both Larkrise and St Nicholas special schools have welcomed Wiltshire Council’s decision to keep both schools, as well as Rowdeford, open until the new super school is ready - but they say more funding for the existing schools is needed in the meantime.

Councillors discussed the special schools plan at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning where it was explained all three sites would remain open until the new school is ready, and it is appropriate for children to transition to the new school at Rowdeford, near Devizes.

It was also decided that a total of more than £33million would be spent on the new school in Rowde.

Cabinet member for children, education and skills Cllr Pauline Church said: “I am pleased to be able to move into the next stage of enhancing our special schools in Wiltshire, so that every child can have a great education taught by skilled and experienced professionals.

“I would like to thank all those who gave responses in the consultation.

“There is a lot at stake here, essentially the lives of children and young people who are and will continue to remain in the heart of our planning and commitment.

“Wiltshire Council remains passionate about supporting and enabling children and young people with SEND to have a great education which they can enjoy today and supports them to be happy and well supported now and in the future.”

Ros Way, head of St Nicholas School in Chippenham, said: “I speak on behalf of the staff and governors of the school.

“Whilst we welcome the proposal of the school running in three sites, we remain extremely concerned that this proposal may well result in one site option only and not prove the outcomes of inclusion and enable our children and young people to contribute as part of their local community.

“Without investment in all three sites it is hard to see how we can prepare for a future, be transformational and adaptable and be ready to meet the needs of our pupils.”

Phil Cook, head at Larkrise in Trowbridge, said: “I believe it is a very positive move regarding having three sites, as it gives parents more choices and enables the pupils to be educated whilst living in their communities. However unless Larkrise and St Nicholas see some capital investment, I think by default there will be a one site option. All three sites need investment.”

The Rowdeford school will be extended to accommodate up to 400 pupils as part of the new special school by 2023.