Marpool set to launch £750,000 project to help vulneerable youngsters

Pupils at Marpool Primary School building model classrooms for the proposed Avocet Learning Trust Ac

Pupils at Marpool Primary School building model classrooms for the proposed Avocet Learning Trust Academy. Picture: Marpool Primary School - Credit: Marpool Primary School

A proposed extension to an Exmouth primary school could provide vulnerable youngsters with a ‘half way house’ between mainstream and specialist education.

A project to create a new education centre on the grounds of Marpool Primary School for those pupils at risk of exclusion is set to be launched this week.

Marpool needs to raise £750,000 to complete construction of the Avocet Learning Trust Academy and is appealing to town businesses and charities to support its scheme.

Headteacher Rachel Pattison is hoping to create a facility which will ‘bridge the gap’ between mainstream education and special schools, adding: “It’s for children who find mainstream education is a challenge, where they are at risk of exclusion and where primary schools can not meet the individual needs and a special school is too bespoke.

“Children need to have a peer group and they need to have positive role models around them.”

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The school has been working with learning mentors for the last 10 years on site to support youngsters who do not fit in with traditional education but hasn’t got a specialised place for them on site.

Once funding is found for the Avocet Learning Trust Academy, a planning application will be submitted for a separate building in the school grounds.

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Youngsters whose needs are not being met by mainstream education and do not meet the criteria for ‘special’ schools will be eligible for academy support.

Should a permanent exclusion take place, Devon County Council may approach the academy for a place for £30 an hour. ‘Pay as you go’ support may well be accepted at a cost of £20 per hour either at the new centre or the school.

Alongside their core numeracy and literacy lessons, they will learn life skills and how to be a member of their community.

Where appropriate, pupils will have access to traditional education through Marpool Primary School.

A launch presentation is being held at Marpool Primary School on Thursday (November 29) as it looks to gain financial support from businesses and charities – both locally and nationally.

Doors will open at 6.30pm for welcome drinks before a presentation on the scheme at 7pm. For more information about the project, email

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