Sunderland school plans to build new primary unit on former hockey pitch

A special needs school on Wearside has revealed plans for a new education building to meet demand for places.

Saturday, 12th October 2019, 9:00 am
Ashbrooke School in Sunderland. Picture: Google Streetview

Ashbrooke School opened in 2017 and caters for pupils aged 5-19 from across the North East region.

The centre, which is operated by the Witherslack Group, was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in its most recent inspection.

It is based in the former Sunderland High School’s Junior School, and was officially opened by comedian Rory Bremner, a patron of the ADHD Foundation. He was himself diagnosed with the condition.

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Education bosses have now lodged plans for a new primary school building to prepare the school for the future.

If approved the hub would be built on a former hockey pitch on site which has not been used for several years.

According to planning documents, the development could create a total of 30 full-time equivalent jobs.

The Witherslack Group provides services for a range of special educational needs – from autism spectrum conditions and asperger’s syndrome to language and social communication difficulties.

Earlier this year, the group won planning permission for a new children’s home in Shiney Row which will serve Ashbrooke School.

A Design and Access Statement sets out the facilities the new building will offer for pupils.

This includes six classrooms, a food technology area, activity hall and sensory and therapy spaces.

The new build will also cater for primary age pupils with the remaining building used for secondary age students.

The Design and Access statement adds: “The Witherslack Group has reviewed the forecast growth and need for pupil places across the locality and consider that a new build, primary, specialist school is required.

“Many schools have previously benefited from works to their sites around the country.

“This would bring significant investment to the locality, bringing with it new jobs and positions within the education sector.

“The proposed school aims to bring more appropriate facilities and will support the anticipated increase in pupil numbers.”

A decision on the plans is expected to be made by Sunderland City Council in coming months.

For more information, visit: and search planning ref: 19/01651/FUL