Plans for new special school in Tameside move forward

Date Released - 26/04/2023

PLANS to build a state-of-the-art, energy efficient special school in Tameside have taken a significant step forward.

Tameside Council’s Executive Cabinet has approved proposals to build the new school on the Longdendale Playing Field site to accommodate 220 children.

The ambitious plans to replace Hawthorns School, Audenshaw, will accommodate an increase in places at the outstanding primary special school, which is part of New Bridge Multi Academy Trust.

The scheme includes 4 Early Years classrooms, 12 autistic spectrum disorder classrooms complete with one-to-one teaching and respite areas, 9 moderate learning difficulties classrooms and specific teaching spaces for art, drama, ICT and life skills. It also includes a library, a large and small sports/multi use hall, a commercial kitchen, a large training/family room and all necessary office spaces, staffroom, toilets and storage spaces. 

The building will be constructed to achieve the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Excellent rating, which sets best practice standards for the environmental performance of buildings. The energy efficient and sustainable design is part of Tameside working towards being Net Zero by 2038.

It also includes proposals for a floodlit synthetic pitch, a natural turf pitch and changing accommodation for school and community use. They will replace the current pitches on the site, which are unusable in winter due to poor drainage. The new sporting provisions are supported by the Local Authorities Playing Pitch Strategy, the Football Associations Local Football Facilities Plan and the Football Foundation. 

Tameside currently maintains over 2,600 Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), which has more than tripled since 2017. There has been some expansion of specialist provision but more is needed to ensure that needs are met appropriately and within the borough.

Hawthorns School was originally designed to accommodate 60 pupils. By September the school will have 220 pupils on roll and is using additional sites to accommodate them.

The additional capacity will enable the Council to avoid more expensive independent or out of borough placements, saving around £3million per year.

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “A new building for Hawthorns School is essential to meet the needs of primary age children in the borough who have Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

“Hawthorns School is very popular with parents and is an outstanding school. Their new state-of-the-art accommodation will serve future learners and mean that children can attend school in their home borough rather than having to travel to schools in other areas.”

Planning permission has already been granted following consultation with site enabling works having started.