Hillingdon Council is embarking on a major upgrade initiative to significantly enhance special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provisions in the borough.
With two school redevelopments nearing completion and a substantial project on the horizon, the council is committed to providing substantial improvements in local education for children with additional needs.
The council’s dedication to ensuring the well-being and educational opportunities of young residents is evident in its multi-million-pound investment.
This ambitious project involves constructing new spaces and expanding existing facilities in both mainstream and special schools, with the primary goal of increasing high-quality local school places for children with additional needs.
On August 30, Deputy Leader of Hillingdon Council and Cabinet Member for Property, Highways, and Transport, Cllr Jonathan Bianco, along with Cabinet Member for Children, Families, and Education, Cllr Susan O’Brien, paid a visit to three schools to inspect the ongoing progress.
Ruislip Gardens Primary School: At Ruislip Gardens Primary School, a specialised 16-place assessment base for nursery-aged children who may require SEND support is in the works.
Additionally, a specialist resource provision with 12 places for primary-aged pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) is being established.
This facility will encompass therapy rooms, hygiene rooms, sensory areas, and soft play zones, ensuring its readiness to cater to a wide range of needs. The works are scheduled for completion this autumn, with the specialist resource provision set to open in September and the assessment base in mid-October.
Charville Academy, Hayes: Charville Academy in Hayes is also undergoing a significant transformation with a similar specialist resource provision being developed, mirroring the features at Ruislip Gardens.
It will provide spaces for an additional 16 children with ASC. Completion of these works is expected in winter, and they are projected to be in use by January 2024, initially serving eight pupils and doubling to 16 by September 2024.
Meadow High School, Uxbridge: At Meadow High School in Uxbridge, the expansion is being executed in two phases. The first involves designing a new satellite school in Harefield, which will accommodate an additional 90 students. Simultaneously, a new classroom block at the current Uxbridge site will create space for eight additional places, totaling 82.
This new two storey classroom block will replace aging temporary modular classrooms. The block will house new classrooms and specialist teaching spaces, including science, music, food technology, fitness, sensory, hygiene, therapy, medical, and quiet study rooms.
These facilities will efficiently connect with the existing school building via an internal corridor and externally through new walkways and a covered canopy area that can also be used for teaching and social activities.
In preparation for the construction work, six temporary classrooms are currently being installed to accommodate students from the beginning of the new academic year.
Cllr Susan O’Brien, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “It’s brilliant to see the progress being made to meet the demand for specialist provision in our schools.
“This project requires us to really explore how spaces at our schools are used and to examine how the buildings could be adapted, expanded or repurposed to address the increasing demand and negate any local shortage of spaces.
“We’re also striving to deliver an equality of educational opportunities for every young person in the borough, so that young people with specific needs can learn alongside other pupils in an environment that enables all to thrive.”