Plans for new Sunderland special needs school on site of former primary school

The derelict site of a former school could get a new lease of life providing special needs education.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 30th August 2019, 7:05 am
The former Bishop Harland school site

Plans are due to be considered next week on Tuesday September 3 to turn what was once Bishop Harland Primary School, Ramillies Road, into a special educational needs (SEN) school with space for almost 100 pupils.

The land, at the corner with Rockingham Road, has been empty since 2013, when the previous school was demolished.

Sunderland City Council gave the green light to early proposals for the school more than two years ago (June 2017) after applying through the government’s Free Schools programme.

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The former Bishop Harland school site

The plans were originally put forward in response to a growing demand for special needs school places in the city and a limited supply to offer families.

According to the minutes of a meeting of the city council’s cabinet in July 2017: “Special schools across the city had become severely oversubscribed due to the increase in children being diagnosed with autism and the demand for school places was high.”

This meeting also agreed to offer a 125-year lease to the sponsor which would eventually take over the running of the school.

Once open, the school is expected to have 38 full time teaching and support staff, equating to about 2.5 staff members for each of the schools 96 pupils.

Plans also state there will be three full time administrators, four full time caretakers and a further seven part time lunch staff, giving up to 52 members of staff on site at peak times.

The council’s planning department has recommended the city council’s North Sunderland Development Control Sub-Committee approve the application when the panel meets.

Bishop Harland Primary School, along with Hlyton Red House Primary School, closed in 2013 to reopen as the combined Northern Saints CE Primary School, which became one of the city’s biggest primary schools.

Then Bishop of Jarrow ,The Right Reverend Mark Bryant, performed a closing service for Bishop Harland to mark five decades of the school educating the area’s young people.