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Plans approved for new £11.8m education centre

PLANS have been approved for a brand new centre that will help transform education for some of Swansea's most vulnerable young people.


The new building will be constructed on part of Swansea Council's Cockett House site and will replace existing and outdated pupil referral accommodation that is currently scattered at various locations across the city.

Swansea Council's planning committee agreed to the plans which also include an improved access route to the site on Cockett Road.

Pupils who will attend the centre have a wide range of ages and emotional difficulties.

The service, which currently runs from three sites at Brondeg House in Manselton, the Step-Ahead site in Cockett and the Arfryn Education Centre in Penlan, will now be accommodated in one building with four distinct areas according to individuals' needs.

It will have sufficient on site vehicle drop off points for pupils and has been designed with flexibility should it need to be adapted to meet the needs of the Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) service in the future.

The cost of the new centre is estimated to be £11.8m and Swansea Council will share the bill with the Welsh Government as part of the council's plans to invest almost £150m in school buildings in the city in the coming years.

As part of the investment there will be a significant focus on ensuring more pupils are helped to remain or return as quickly as possible to mainstream education.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "I'm very pleased that these plans have progressed through the planning stage.

"We are determined to develop an EOTAS service that not only best meets the needs of some of the most vulnerable young people of our city but also sets a gold standard for Wales.

"These are pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and if their needs are not fully addressed then their chances of employment and wellbeing are greatly reduced. Our investment in this service is an investment in their future."

A pivotal part of the plans would also see the development of a "halfway house" setting which will support the rapid reintegration of pupils experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties back into mainstream schools.

There will also be enhanced early intervention and prevention for pupils at risk of becoming EOTAS and mainstream schools will receive extra support to help manage vulnerable children.

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