Southend secondary school to be expanded with four new classrooms

Pupils at a special school in Southend may soon see their cold temporary classrooms replaced with a brand new teaching block, that promises central heating and better insulation.

Under plans submitted to the council by St Nicholas School on Philpott Avenue, four temporary classrooms will be demolished and replaced with an extension to the existing school building.

Design documents describe the temporary classrooms as being 30 years old and “in a poor state of repair”. There is also no central heating, leaving teachers having to use storage heaters to keep pupils warm during the winter.

These problems will all be addressed by the new four classroom extension, which will include central heating, a new office and a sensory room which can be used as a form of therapy for children with special needs.

It will also be accessible via the main school building which means pupils will no longer have to brave the cold and wet weather when walking to class.

Plans show there will not be any increase in the number of pupils or staff members so the extension is not expected to have any impact on the surrounding roads.

However, if the plans do get the go-ahead from the council, two trees will have to be cut down to prevent them from impacting on the foundations.

It is noted in planning documents that there in no preservation order on these trees but their loss is likely to be a consideration for the council’s planning team.

Councillor Dan Nelson (CON), who represents the ward, said: “This is a really positive plan. I wouldn’t want any child to have to study in temporary classroom, which nine times out of ten are made out of plastic and are cold and windy, so this is really welcome and particularly for children with special needs.”

The St Nicholas School is for pupils aged between 11 and 16 who have a range of learning difficulties.

The school works in partnership with three other special schools, St Christopher School, Lancaster School and Kingsdown School, to form a multi academy trust called the SEN Trust Southend.
St Nicholas School was contacted for comment.

Councillors will decide whether to grant planning permission for the extension at a future planning meeting.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter