A PLANNING application to build a new Kidderminster school for children with behavioural, social and emotional needs has been lodged.

Proposals for the school, named the Unity Academy, were announced last year after Wyre Forest was identified as having a need for the provision due to the “lack of capacity” in the current system.

There are plans to build the new school at the former Sladen Middle School site off Hurcott Road. The primary school will have a capacity for 64 pupils and cater for children aged between 4 and 11 years old with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

The school will be operated by The Rivers C of E Academy Trust who are a multi-academy school trust specialising in primary provision.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Artist's impression of the new Kidderminster school. Photo: ©Portakabin Artist's impression of the new Kidderminster school. Photo: ©Portakabin

According to developers, approximately 20 places would be for pupils with behavioural issues excluded from mainstream education with 40 places for pupils with mental or physical health issues who are unable to cope in a mainstream school setting.

The government announced on in July 2020 that 3,000 new school places are to be created for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The school will be be built on the former Sladen Middle School which was demolished in 2009 The school will be be built on the former Sladen Middle School which was demolished in 2009

The 35 new special free schools will be staffed by specially trained teachers. The Kidderminster school is planned to open in February 2023.

The old Sladen Middle School was demolished in 2009. 

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education said: “We are working with the Department of Education and Rivers CofE Academy Trust, who would be running the Alternative Provision on a daily basis, to progress the application.

"The new school will allow us to continue the progress and improvements we are making across the county, to help children reach their full potential.  

"We look forward to strengthening our working relationship with The Rivers Trust who already run 12 schools in Worcestershire.

"Any new school on this site will offer provision to primary age pupils which will be tailored to the individual needs of the child and their family.

"It will also offer a highly personalised and alternative curriculum which will help prepare children to reintegrate productively back into mainstream schools.”