Plans for new Renfrewshire School

Plans for new £18 million school for pupils with special educational support needs

Children with special educational support needs could soon be enjoying the benefits of an £18million, state-of-the-art school if Renfrewshire Council can secure £9 million match funding from the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT).

Education and Leisure Services have already been discussing the options with local parents and will seek approval for a full consultation exercise at the Council meeting on 27 September.

If the funding can be secured the school could be open by summer 2016.

Under the proposals Clippens School, Kersland School and the Hollybush Pre 5 Centre would close. They would be replaced by a larger, single building, designed from the ground up to meet the specific requirements of children with special educational support needs.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said, “Kersland School and Clippens School both have an unrivalled reputation for the excellent quality of the teaching and care that they provide. What is required is accommodation that meets the same exacting standards.

“Consultation is the key to this process. We have held meetings with parents and will continue to do so on a regular basis throughout this process. We will listen to parents and we will be guided by their wishes.

“We recognise that the physical environment at Clippens and Kersland does not meet the learning and development needs of the pupils who use the schools. It simply isn’t good enough that in Clippens we have a two storey building where many of the pupils use wheelchairs.

“If we can get the funding from the SFT, we have an opportunity to provide local children, who have special educational needs, with the facilities that they deserve, facilities which are fit for the 21st century.”

The new school would provide:

  • · better access to PE and sporting facilities
  • · better ICT facilities
  • · specifically designed outdoor areas
  • · improved personal care areas which would help promote pupils’ independence and dignity
  • · improved accessibility and more effective support for pupils with sensory and physical difficulties.

Schools are normally judged on how close they are to the maximum number of pupils they can take, their physical condition and the suitability of their facilities.

Kersland School is currently overcrowded. It was designed for 65 pupils but currently has 81. Clippens School is satisfactory with a school roll of 58 against a capacity of 78. Hollybush Pre 5 Centre is severely underused with just 18 pupils, well below its maximum of 42.

Clippens and Kersland schools are both rated as ‘poor’ in terms of the conditions of the buildings while Hollybush is satisfactory.

Clippens was originally designed as a primary school and has two storeys. It has been modified to meet its pupils’ support needs but many are in wheelchairs and the building is unsuitable for them.

Kersland similarly scores poorly on suitability as the internal social areas and facilities are too small. Facilities are also spread over a number of annexes.

The Scottish Futures Trust is a public corporation, set up by the Scottish Government in September 2008, to improve public infrastructure investment.