PLANS for the £38m extension to the Silverwood super school have got the go ahead.

The bid by Wiltshire Council, to extend the former Rowdeford School to provide space for 350 special educational needs pupils was given the green light by members of the authority’s strategic planning committee yesterday.

Silverwood School comes from the amalgamation of Larkrise in Trowbridge, Rowdeford and St Nicholas in Chippenham.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Sean McKeown, the new executive head of Silverwood SchoolSean McKeown, the new executive head of Silverwood School

The plan will see the construction of a new two-storey teaching building with a hydrotherapy pool, classrooms and a hall and the refurbishment of the existing buildings on the sites.

There will also be a new all-weather sports pitch, playing fields and parking.

Silverwood’s executive headteacher Sean McKeown said it would provide “the best quality education for our children and young people”.

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“At Silverwood we are constructing a creative, exciting and diverse curriculum that focuses on the uniqueness of each individual,” he said.

“And now we have the opportunity to afford our pupils the absolute best and the proposed build will bring the most up-to-date facilities and enable more pupils to experience a greater quality of provision.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Plans for the new Silverwood School in RowdePlans for the new Silverwood School in Rowde

Mr McKeown said the experts at the site would mean that the school “can get it right from the start” and provide outreach support for mainstream schools.

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During the debate, it was suggested by Cllr Sarah Gibson, that the council should impose a condition that the construction process should be to a zero carbon standard and monitored.

Cllr Jon Hubbard, chairman of children’s select, commended the proposals.

He added that the council would be setting a dangerous and negative precedent to not require zero carbon development of the developer – as it as an authority moves towards a carbon neutral goal by 2030.

Cabinet member for SEND, Jane Davies said the plans were the culmination of years of planning and discussions between the local authority, parents and schools.

She added that they were part of the council’s wider aspirations to support children throughout the county.

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Councillors unanimously voted to approve the plans which could cost up to £38m.

It was estimated that the build would cost £33m but in July this year, cabinet agreed to set aside a further £5.5m in capital cash for the project.

This increase in the budget has been levelled at the “extreme volatility” in the construction industry around the cost of materials.

It is hoped that the build will be completed by September 2023.

The St Nicholas and Larkrise schools are due to stay open until the new school is ready for pupils and the time is “appropriate to consider children/young people transitioning to the new site at Rowdeford”.