Cold temporary classrooms at special school in Southend to be replaced with new teaching block

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A special school in Southend has secured planning permission for a new teaching block that will replace four temporary classrooms which are more than 30 years old.

St Nicholas School, in Philpott Avenue, secured planning permission on Friday making way for the removal of four temporary classrooms and the construction of a four-classroom extension.

The school is a special secondary school for students aged between 11 and 16 with learning needs. The extension will include a sensory room that provides therapy for children with special needs, a counselling room and office space.

The current detached temporary classrooms have been described in planning documents as in a “poor state of repair” and “no longer fit for purpose”. There is also no central heating, leaving teachers having to use storage heaters to keep pupils warm in winter.

These problems will all be addressed by the extension that will include central heating and be accessible via the main school building so pupils will no longer have to brave the cold and wet weather when walking to class.

A report from the council’s planning team said: “The new classrooms will be better insulated making them much more efficient and reducing running costs, as well as a number of other obvious benefits, including not having to make the children and staff walk outside to access the classrooms during poor weather, as well as making a better environment for the children to work and learn in.”

The new classrooms will be designed to be in keeping with the surroundings, using red brick to match the neighbouring sports hall and other parts of the school building.

It will have a flat roof to also match the existing buildings.

The planning team adds that it is not expected to have any impact on the surrounding roads but two trees will have to be cut down to prevent them from impacting on the foundations.

St Nicholas School was contacted for comment.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter

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