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Issue:- Monday, 20 June 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 6.

2 new schools planned for Dyson Hall site

A plan to create 2 new schools on the site of a former detention centre for children is to be considered by Liverpool City Council. A report to the Cabinet, on Friday, 24 June 2016, is proposing that Dyson Hall in Fazakerley is replaced by a new £5 million special school run by the long established disability charity Birtenshaw.

Birtenshaw will provide education and care for up to 40 physically disabled children, some with complex health needs and those with a learning disability and/or Autistic Spectrum Conditions. The school facilities will include a 25 metre hydrotherapy pool.

The organisation currently has an oversubscribed school in Bolton and is keen to expand into Liverpool to cater for the demand for children from the area, creating at least 100 local jobs in the process. The cost of the construction will be repaid to the Council through the rental agreement for the building. In addition, New Heights School; a Pupil Referral Unit which educates children excluded from mainstream education; will relocate from Gateacre to a new £3.5 million building on the site. It caters for up to 66 young people, with staff carrying out assessments before referring pupils to an appropriate Secondary, Special or Studio School. The existing New Heights site will become the new home for Calder Kids, which provides youth, play and leisure activities for children with disabilities aged 6 to 19 years old. It is currently based in poor quality accommodation on Harthill Road in Calderstones.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said:- "This proposal will deliver a number of benefits for young people from Liverpool with significant needs. Dyson Hall is a building that we no longer have a use for, and the 2 new modern facilities will bring a derelict site back into use. We have also been working with Calder Kids for some time to find them a new home more suitable for their needs, and this plan will see them relocated in a more purpose building in Gateacre."

Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for education and skills, added:- "This is part of our ongoing commitment to provide new facilities for our young people and give them the very best start in life."

David Reid, Chief Executive of Birtenshaw, said:- 'We are delighted to have been chosen to work in partnership with Liverpool City Council on this exciting project. We look forward to providing quality services for children and young people with special education needs and disability in the City for many years to come."

If approved, the work will be carried out by construction firm Willmott Dixon, who estimate that 71% of the sub contract work will go to local firms across Merseyside and also create opportunities for apprentices.

It is expected that, subject to planning approval, construction would begin in the autumn with both schools opening in September 2017.

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