Cheshire East Council has praised the teams behind the opening of two new special schools in Crewe as the autumn term starts after months of Covid restrictions.
The two schools, Axis Academy and Lavender Field School offer places for children and young people, aged four to 18 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), in particular those with social, emotional and mental health needs.
The need for more special schools was established as part of a structured programme to increase places for children and young people with SEND. The detailed plan, agreed in 2017, recognised that many pupils with SEND had very long journeys to and from school, with one in five travelling more than 45 minutes each way and many educated outside of the borough.
The last three years has seen considerable capital investment in Cheshire East schools to increase both the number of places for children and young people with SEND, but also to improve support and resources in mainstream schools.
The Axis Academy, run by the Youth Engagement Schools Trust, will open on Tuesday 1 September, initially to 32 students, increasing to 48 by 2022. The academy will focus on providing education to young people with mental health needs supporting all areas from personal wellbeing to academic success. Initially the school will be run from The Stables on Warmingham Road, Crewe before moving to its permanent location at Lodgefields Drive, Crewe in January.
Lavender Field School will accommodate up to 50 pupils from September 2020, with a potential expansion to 75, from September 2021. The school offers a personalised education, rooted in social, emotional and physical development.
Councillor Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families said: “Like most councils, we have a growing need for school places for children and young people with special educational needs.
“I’d like to thank and praise all the teams working on the construction of both schools including our school projects team, the Youth Engagement Youth Trust and Lavender Fields. I know they have worked tirelessly to keep the projects on schedule, so they can open their doors and welcome students to the new term during these difficult times.
“I would also like to thank the Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum for their help and support in understanding the views of parents and carers, and enabling us to provide children and young people with the excellent education and support they deserve in a school close to family, friends and their communities.
Nic Brindle, chief executive officer of the Youth Engagement Schools Trust, said: “We are thrilled to open the Axis Academy to help support vulnerable children in the area and we are delighted to be able to start helping change children’s futures for the better.
“The Axis Academy offers a full broad academic curriculum taught by subject specialists allowing all students to find their passions and develop these leading to apprenticeships, college placements and A-levels.
“This is reinforced by a rounded and complete support network including mental health counselling, wellbeing support, and activities focussed on ensuring we have resilient lifelong learners.
“We are proud to be able to start helping change children’s futures for the better and we can’t wait to get started and share the successes of our first ever students as they successfully master their own education.”
Co-executive headteacher of Lavender Fields, Lucy Gibbs said: “We are extremely excited to be opening our doors to pupils in September and are honoured to have the opportunity to offer a life-changing experience to children and their families. Pupils will have a range of additional needs and enjoy an innovative, personalised and therapeutic education.”