PLANS to convert a farmhouse and its grounds in Bassaleg into a school have been given the go-ahead, paving the way for a Newport private special school to expand and relocate to the site.
Greenfields School is currently based off Stow Park Hill, Rogerstone, and could move to the site at Graig-Y-Saeson Farm, Forge Road.
A design and access statement from the plans says the school is for learners “who have been disengaged from education”.
In a statement, headteacher Jennifer Parry said:
“We are registered to support learners aged nine to 16, having recently been granted a change in our age range allowing us to support learners in Key Stage 2, allowing earlier intervention.”
The school has occupied its site for seven years but increased demand from the closure of Mounton House School in Monmouth means they need a bigger site.
Currently, the school can support only up to 20 learners, but if it moves to the Bassaleg site that number could double.
In 2019, Newport council’s additional learning needs and inclusion officer, Nathan Criddle said in an e-mail to Ms. Parry that the expansion would be beneficial to the council.
The e-mail said:
“It will allow us to invest in your school by placing more young people from within the borough thus preventing them from being placed out of the county.
“It will also save us as an authority, with our transport costs because we will be able to keep them within the Newport borough boundaries.
“I hope that you are successful with the purchase of the new school and look forward to working/referring Newport young people to yourselves, we currently have many referrals awaiting placement.”
The new school site will see the farmhouse and grounds converted into a school with five classrooms across two floors.
Two additional classrooms would be provided via demountable units. The grounds will include a climbing wall.
The school, which educates those aged nine to 16 with special education needs, would be able to accommodate up to 40 pupils.
The decision report says:
“The pupils are a mix of looked-after children living in residential care homes and day pupils from Newport and the surrounding areas.
“The school specifically caters for pupils who have been subject to adverse childhood experiences, with developmental difficulties and additional learning needs.”
While the farm benefits from animals on the site, this would be kept separate from the school and will continue to be run by the farm manager who lives in a bungalow on the site.