New centre will help tackle chronic shortage of special educational needs facilities in north Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 April 2017

Alastair Ogle, head at Alderman Peel High School

Alastair Ogle, head at Alderman Peel High School

Neil Hunt Photographyy

A new centre will help tackle a chronic shortage of facilities in north Norfolk for children with special educational needs.

The Wells Cluster Support Centre has opened at the town’s Alderman Peel High School and has been described by a head teacher as an “innovative” way of addressing a major problem.

The £145,000 building has been funded by Norfolk County Council.

It will be used by Alderman Peel High School, Wells Primary and Nursery School, Langham Primary School, Burnham Market Primary School, Walsingham Primary School, Blakeney Primary School and Hindringham Primary School, which make up the Wells Cluster.

Alastair Ogle, head of Alderman Peel High School and Wells Primary and Nursery School, who is also chairman of the Wells Cluster, said: “There are no complex needs schools in this area and the closest ones are all full.

“And we are seeing an increase in children who need this kind of support.

“It will support children with ADHD, children who are on the autistic spectrum and any other special educational need across the cluster.”

Mr Ogle added: “There is continuing pressure on resources and need to keep costs down, so this is an innovative way of addressing what is a major issue in this rural area.”

The centre will be used during and after school time.

It will provide a base to enable outside agencies to work with the teachers, pupils and families from the seven schools.

It will be used for staff training.

The centre was the inspiration of Lynn Pigney, the Wells Cluster’s special educational needs co-ordinator.

The building will not only be for children with special educational needs.

It was officially opened on Thursday by Michael Bateman, Norfolk County Council’s head of education inclusion service.

Mr Ogle said: “This is a good way of schools working together to address a need. It is being cost effective at a time when there is extra pressure on resources.

“It will be flexible and open for all pupils from the Wells Cluster, not just those with special educational needs.”

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