New school to open in Sunderland creating 50 jobs

Sunderland High School.
Sunderland High School.
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A new school is set to breathe life into a disused Sunderland building.

The former Sunderland High School’s junior school site in Ashbrooke Road, is all set to become a place of learning once again.

Ashbrooke School will be an absolutely stunning educational setting

Phil Jones

Staff, pupils and families were left stunned when it was announced that Sunderland High School would be closing.

Now, the junior school site has been bought by the Witherslack Group, which is one of the country’s leading providers of independent specialist education and care for children with special education needs, including youngsters with autism.

The new Ashbrooke School will be the latest edition to the group’s national portfolio of schools and care centres and they are hoping to further build on their reputation of high quality specialist support for young people.

Matt Boyle, Marketing Manager for the Witherslack Group, said consultation with householders in the area of the school, which will cater for both primary and secondary students, have been carried out and they have had a lot of support from the community for the new school.

He said there will be a short period of re-development and upgrading, and the school is expected to open in the spring of 2017 to its first cohort of children.

Matt said they will begin with a very small number of youngsters and aim to grow slowly.

He said Ashbrooke School will offer state of the art educational resources and facilities and class sizes are usually about seven children in each.

It is anticipated that the school will create around 50 new jobs, including teachers, therapists, teaching assistants, a pastoral team and support staff.

Phil Jones, Witherslack Group’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “When open, Ashbrooke School will be an absolutely stunning educational setting that will not only provide inspiration and opportunity to young people, but also fantastic career opportunities to local people.

“We already have Ofsted outstanding educational provisions in County Durham and I have no doubt that Ashbrooke will go on to be an outstanding establishment in its own right.”

All the children who eventually attend the school will be referred from local authorities.

Matt said: “We always see a high demand for special educational places. Ultimately parents want their children to go to a school which best meets their needs.”

A recruitment fair is being held on Wednesday, November 2, at the school in Ashbrooke Road at 3.30pm, 5pm and 6pm.

For more information about posts on offer and to book a slot for the fair visit or email