A LOCAL councillor is delighted plans to change a former youth centre into a school for kids with special educational needs have been approved due to a ‘desperate’ need for facilities in Barnsley.

An application was submitted earlier last month to change the use of the former Worsbrough Youth Centre, based on Ardsley Road, into a school which would cater for 24 key stage three children.

Now approved, the school, which will be known as West Riding School, will bring 12 new full-time members of staff to the area.

Coun Jake Lodge, who represents the area, told the Chronicle he has previously been contacted by parents in ‘desperation’ for an institute like this.

He added: “I’m pleased that approval has been granted to permission for the former Worsbrough Youth Centre to be converted into a school for SEND children.

“We need desperately need school places in the borough for children with additional needs.

“I’m sure that this will be welcomed by parents across the borough, who have contacted me in desperation, trying to find a suitable placement for their child and as a parent I know how worrying this can be.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the site become live and a thriving part of our community.’’

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The application was submitted just a month after plans to turn Athersley Youth Centre into another SEND school.

A planning report states: “The local authority and its statutory partners have an increasing demand for school places for children and young people with SEND.

“They have an obligation to ensure these children have access to the right type of school placement which best meets their needs, that is within their community and is closer to home.

“This includes those who have been categorised as having needs relating to social, emotional, and mental health; autism and/or speech, language, and communication needs.

“It is essential that children and young people with SEND do not have to travel out of the borough to have their educational needs met through early identification and support, in parallel with improvements to the quality and efficiency of education, health and care plan processes.

“Children and young people who require ongoing specialist support need to be placed in the best possible provision and have their needs met through a stable and enriching school life.

“This will promote independence, confidence and aspirations and enables children to make a successful transition to adulthood.”