Plans to expand country’s biggest special needs school given final clearance
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
A campus of Britain’s largest special needs school will be set up in Barry after its plans for an expanded facility were given final clearance.
Vale of Glamorgan Council approved plans to expand Ysgol Y Deri in Penarth on March 29, but the final decision rested with the Welsh Government.
After the Welsh Government confirmed earlier this month that it would not intervene in the planning process for the scheme, the expansion which staff at the school said is so desperately needed can finally go ahead.
The council will now invest more than £150,000 in turning the former Ysgol Sant Baruc school building into a temporary second base for Ysgol Y Deri whilst its new facility is being built on land at Lower Cosmeston Farm, Cosmeston.
Headteacher at Ysgol Y Deri, Chris Britten, said: “The huge success of Ysgol Y Deri means that our school is already oversubscribed.
“At the same time demand and complexity of need continue both to grow rapidly.
“In the best interests of the children and young people we support we simply cannot wait for the new building to open.”
The eventual expansion of Ysgol Y Deri will provide an extra 150 places for pupils at the school and construction will begin this summer.
At a Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee meeting in March, Mr Britten opened up on the crisis facing his school, explaining how there isn’t enough dining space at lunchtime.
He also said that some pupils were refusing food and drink out of fear of soiling themselves due to a lack of hygiene rooms.
Mr Britten added: “Ysgol Y Deri Barry will provide pupils with a space designed to meet their needs as part of this transition.
“We support pupils from all across the Vale and so it will also make travelling to school easier for many.
“The renovations will make it feel like a natural extension of our Penarth school, and most importantly make it feel like home for those who attend.”
Work on the Barry campus will commence in July with a view to opening it to pupils in September.
The work will involve renovating and retrofitting the building with a range of specialist equipment to provide a learning environment for 60 pupils and staff.
It will include features such as a cooking room, a therapy room, new reception, break out areas for parents and carers and a purpose-built on-site dining room
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