Local authorities have granted planning permission for a brand new SEN school in Telford.
Rodenhurst School is set to open its doors around Easter time, with a target date of April 2021.
The SEN school in Telford will be rolled out in three phases, with each phase gradually increasing capacity to support more young people.
Initially the school will support up to 12 younger pupils, most of whom will have an EHC plan.
Family Care specialises in providing innovative SEN education within a tailored learning environment for children with additional needs, including attachment and trauma, social emotional and mental health, autism, and mild to moderate learning difficulties.
While this will continue to be a focus, Ryan Jervis OBE sees Rodenhurst as a potential school for any child.
Ryan is the Chair of Family Care’s Education Committee and remarked upon his first visit, “I am absolutely blown away. The place is a potential school for any child”.
Ryan has been involved in Education since 1970 and was Head of an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rated school for 20 years.
“Not just the building itself and the way it’s set out, but the location as well, it is just absolutely fabulous. I think everybody who comes here will be delighted, and will see it as a fabulous place for children to receive their education”.
Co-owner and Property Services Director Andy Williamson spotted the property last year. Since then, Family Care have been working to secure planning permission to operate the site as a special school.
Now that permission has been granted, work can begin on adapting the building so that it meets the Independent School Standards.
“I think the children will love being here which is probably more important than what I think about the place…it’s a little gem”.
Ryan Jervis, Chair of the Education Committee
Getting Ready for Launch
Head of Education Sarah Earing and Co-Owner Andy Williamson are coordinating the developments along with their teams.
Initially, a perimeter fence will be put in around the site to keep the site safe. The updating and installation of electrics will include changes of lighting to all rooms whilst ensuring it is in keeping with the character of the house.
The site will be made fire safe with fitting of fire doors, emergency lighting and extinguishers. IT systems and phones will also be installed so that Rodenhurst can operate effectively as a school.
Then we get to the really fun parts…!
The school will be decorated with feature walls and further décor including blinds to let lots of natural light in.
Whiteboards will be installed along with furniture suited to a therapeutic special school. The outside space will be cleared so it can be used for play, sensory experiences, and land use. Outdoor learning is a key characteristic of Family Care’s education offering, just ask Mrs Bishton!
“The views from every single window in the school are lovely. For young people to be inspired by what’s around them in the countryside I think will be perfect, especially for the children that we are likely to attract”.
Phased Site Developments
Site developments are planned over three phases, culminating in Family Care’s first post-16 education offering. This is something Head of Education Sarah Earing has been pushing for due to the shortage of appropriate post-16 SEN education.
“I am super excited to be leading Family Care’s education service and eventually delivering post-16 education. Ensuring our young people are given the best chance for their future is really important to us. Post 16-education options are plentiful for children from mainstream settings, and the same should be true for SEN pupils.”
Phase One – Adapting the existing house
The school will be registered for up to 12 pupils between the ages of 6 and 16.
It will operate the same provision as Access School, providing therapeutic education for young people who are unable to access mainstream settings. The focus will be trauma and attachment, ASD, PDA, SPD and SEMH along with high levels of school anxiety.
Phase Two – The stable blocks opposite the house
A materials inspection will be requested after work is complete on the huge stable blocks. This will increase the site roll up to 30 pupils between the ages of 6 to 16.
The revamped stable blocks will include the main site entrance, art studio, design & technology space, library, ICT suite, learning spaces, and therapy rooms.
Phase two will also include the development of a private walled garden for use by the young people and visitors meeting with pupils.
Phase Three – The large barn (post-16)
The focus of phase three will be to convert the barn into a post-16 addition. This space will provide full and part-time support for pupils who are not quite ready to access a full-time college setting.
Sarah would like this space to mimic a New York loft style feel, with brick walls and neon lights to give it a funky but more grown-up vibe whilst keeping the nurturing, therapeutic aspect.
“People who visit Access school always say that it doesn’t feel like a school, with chickens roaming around and lots of outdoor learning spaces. Rodenhurst will follow a similar theme, whilst keeping focused on helping our children be the best they can be.”
Sarah Earing, Head of Education
Exciting times ahead for Sarah and the whole team at Family Care. We have no doubt that Rodenhurst will only add to the blossoming reputation of our education services, alongside Eden School and Access School.
It is amazing to have come this far, but there is still lots of work to do until the Rodenhurst school doors open in April.
Family Care’s Lead Therapist Teresa Cullen commented: “We can’t wait to welcome new pupils to Rodenhurst. Seeing young people thriving in their education and overall development is what gets us out of bed in the morning. This brand new therapeutic learning environment will do just that”.
You can stay up to date with Rodenhurst school developments as they happen by following us on Facebook.
“We are looking forward to supporting you on your journey. So, dream big and don’t let anyone dampen your spirit. We will see you on the journey to the top!”
Teresa Cullen, Lead Therapist
If you are interested in discussing Family Care’s education offering, you can contact Sarah Earing directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us on 01772 647500. Jobs at Rodenhurst and at our other schools will be advertised on our education vacancies page.
Healing Pasts | Building Futures