Ely special school is looking for new opportunities for pupils as extension is officially opened
- Credit: Archant
Ely’s special Highfield School unveiled its £1.36million extension at an official opening ceremony attended by city mayor Lis Every.
The wing at means the school can now cater for 124 special needs pupils instead of the previous number of 104.
Cllr Every together with headteacher Simon Bainbridge and representatives from the city, district and county councils cut the ribbon to formally open the wing at the school off Downham Road.
The extension comprises a new profound and multiple learning difficulties room (sensory room) for young people with significant needs and a sixth form common room, both previously housed in an old mobile.
There is also a vocational life skills room, food technology room, ICT suite and a staff resources room, all with associated toilets, changing, storage, circulation and plant. Two rooms in the existing school have been refurbished to create two additional classrooms.
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The external area surrounding the new building has been landscaped with new hard surfaces and the Highfield Friends and Parent Association will be fundraising and working with the staff and pupils to create a new sensory garden and allotment plots next year.
They will be looking for voluntary support in terms of materials, labour or grants to make the new areas bloom.
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Headteacher Simon Bainbridge said “This is phase one of a two phase building improvement and extension programme. Phase two, as yet unapproved, would include a vital hydro therapy pool, separate gym, changing rooms and much needed community space for wider parental support”.
Work commenced on March 23 this year and was completed on October 26.
Mr Bainbridge and Cllr Every have been looking into new opportunities for older pupils from the upper school and sixth form.
Cllr Every said: “Highfield School is very well placed to support all the needs of the pupils who attend, but the school is looking for wider experiences in the world of work, taking the pupils out of the classroom and developing their life and employment skills in Ely.”
Ideas currently being looked at include a pop up café within the city using existing facilities, supported work experience with local businesses and establishing business partnerships to launch a new social enterprise which would put Highfield pupils in the driving seat of running a business.