Sunderland specialist school units to merge in £1.4million plan

Plans to merge three specialist education units in Sunderland have been given the green light by councillors.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 1:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 4:15 pm
Jill Colbert, chief executive of Together for Children.

Sunderland City Council is to merge the city’s three pupil referral units (PRU) and inject £1.4m to regenerate a former school building at Springwell Dene in Sunderland as a new home for the amalgamated school.

From September 2019, the Key Stage 1 PRU, The Link School: Tudor Grove and The Link School Pallion will be known as The Link School Sunderland.

The amalgamated school will cater for children aged from five to 14 studying at Key Stages 1 to 3.

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Coun Louise Farthing

The Link School Sunderland will provide alternative provision for pupils not attending mainstream school.

It will continue to operate from two sites.

Children and young people aged between 14 and 16 studying at Key Stage 4 will remain at the current location in Pallion. From September, young people aged from five to 14 studying at Key Stages 1 to 3 will be catered for from the newly refurbished Springwell Dene School site.

The move to the Springwell site will increase PRU capacity in Sunderland with an additional 70 places.

Coun Louise Farthing, portfolio holder for children’s services at Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s good to see new life being given to this school site and I’m confident pupils will benefit from the variety of new facilities.”

Jill Colbert, chief executive at Together for Children, said: “The Springwell site offers a much improved standard of accommodation for our Link School staff and pupils and I commend all involved in bringing this plan to realisation.”

Fiona Brown, executive director of neighbourhoods at Sunderland City Council, said: “This project will benefit communities, families and residents and improve our alternative provision in Sunderland.”

Together for Children, which manages children’s services in partnership with Sunderland City Council is also working with schools across Sunderland to implement strategies to reduce the level of school exclusions including liaising with schools to further increase understanding around pupil’s additional learning needs.

Facilities at the Springwell Dene site will include a new £250,000 ICT infrastructure, music recording studio, refurbished arts and ceramics studio, refurbished sports and dining halls and the creation of an outdoor classroom activity area.