Plans for special needs hub at Little Ilford School given green light

Little Ilford School site

A special needs hub is to be built at Little Ilford School in Manor Park. - Credit: Jon King

Plans to expand a school and build a special educational needs hub have been given the thumbs-up by councillors.

The scheme includes a new reception, a timber cabin for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and extensions to the sports and dining halls at Little Ilford School in Manor Park.

little ilford plan

The plans include a new reception area. - Credit: Rivington Street Studios

Headteacher Ian Wilson said of the plans: "We're really pleased with what they've done."

David Tucker, director of architects Rivington Street Studios, hailed the scheme's ability to provide for the school's current and future needs.

Newham needs to have provided 4,650 secondary school places between 2016 and 2022 to accommodate rising birth rates.

The council wants Little Ilford to take 300 more children to help accommodate the bulge in the population.

sen cabin

A special needs hub will be based at a timber cabin on the school grounds. - Credit: Rivington Street Studios

The hub, which includes a kitchen to teach life skills, and extensions would not lead to more forms of entry at Little Ilford.

Mr Tucker said there had been a series of consultation events with more planned on further plans to expand the school in Rectory Road.

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However, Kate Chadwick, from the National Education Union, challenged the idea there had been a detailed consultation, saying only 12 parents were asked for their views.

Cllr John Whitworth complained there was a "surprising lack of ambition" shown by the 40 to 46 cycle parking spaces included, given the need to encourage active travel.

The meeting heard cycle parking spaces should be achieved in line with capital wide standards.

Cllr Alan Griffiths asked whether aluminium materials used as part of the design were vulnerable to fire.

Mr Tucker replied that it is not a fire risk, because there is mineral wool behind the panels which is not flammable.

Tim Aldridge, Newham's corporate director of children's services, described meeting the increasing demand for special needs places as a "significant challenge".

He added the SEN hub at Little Ilford won't resolve all the issues, but forms part of a wider response to develop provision.

Members of Newham's strategic development committee approved the plan unanimously at a meeting on Wednesday, February 24.