Planning approval for new school building at Marpool

The proposed site for a new learning centre at Marpool Primary School. Picture: Google

The proposed site for a new learning centre at Marpool Primary School. Picture: Google - Credit: Google

A project seeking to help children who struggle to fit into mainstream primary education has moved a step closer after planning approval was granted.

Under delegated powers, district council planning officers gave the green light for the construction of a school building for children with social, emotional and health needs on the grounds of Marpool Primary School.

Now approval has been secured, the school will look into funding sources for the project.

It is hoped construction could begin 'as soon as possible'.

Rachel Pattison, headteacher of Marpool Primary School, said: "We are extremely pleased that we have been granted planning permission.

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"We are currently supporting a number of children with social, emotional and health needs and the new build will provide the much needed space and facilities to offer them the best education we can.

"The ability to provide our local children with bespoke high quality education within our local community is vital.

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"Our aim is to start construction as soon as possible with a view to be up and working again as soon as we can."

Plans for the new facility include four classrooms, three 'break out' areas, toilets, a sensory room and a respite area.

The new building is set to cater for eight additional pupils 'in the first instance' with six teachers supporting them.

Speaking at a town council planning meeting in September, Mrs Pattison said children with complex needs in the Exmouth community are being 'shipped out' of the town at a cost to the taxpayer.

She added: "The proposal is for a base where we can educate the children in a homely environment to start with and then have four classrooms to transition them from home into a small school space and eventually mainstream education."

The application was met with some opposition from residents over the potential for increased traffic and the proximity of a rear terrace to neighbouring properties.

Amended plans were put forward, which included the relocation on fire exits and the removal of the rear terrace.

Mrs Pattison said the school will attempt to keep disruption to a minimum and will 'work closely' with neighbours.

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