PLANS to turn a former office building in the town centre into a school for children who cannot be supported ‘appropriately’ in a mainstream setting have been submitted to the council.

An application - from Compass Schools - to turn the office building, on Victoria Road, into a new school for up to 24 pupils was submitted last week.

A planning report said: “The proposed small school would be registered with Ofsted for up to 24 pupils and would have about 13 staff.

“It will provide specialist education provision for those children who cannot be supported appropriately within a mainstream education setting.

“Compass Schools are unique and distinctive environments that are highly effective in supporting children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

“They meet the needs of children and young people by delivering bespoke education packages to help them achieve and become the best they can be.

“The schools work as part of therapeutic communities, supporting children with various packages of education, therapy and care as required.”

The pupils on the site are set to all live in the Barnsley area - making it the second school currently in occupation in the town centre, with Trinity Academy St Edward’s in temporary situ on Eastgate.

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“It is intended that the children to be educated at the site will be currently living in the local area and for whom it has always been assumed that a dedicated specialist school setting would be most beneficial,” the report added.

“Presently, they are either supported where they live or attend mainstream services.

“Mainstream placements are not really suitable, hence the need to create a suitable education environment where pupils can catch up and thrive in their education.”

External alterations to the site will be made including the formation of a playground to the rear of the building.

“The proposals will provide employment opportunities for local people and there are also likely to be opportunities for local tradespersons,” the report added.

“Although the proposals are not for an employment use in planning terms, the school would provide about 15 direct jobs and would, therefore, retain employment at the site, making a meaningful contribution to employment opportunities in the town. “There would also be a number of indirect employment opportunities arising from the proposals.

“It is, therefore, concluded that there would not be a significant loss of existing jobs associated with the proposals.

“Indeed, there would be more jobs than currently exist on the site.

“The proposals would provide significant public benefits by delivering specialist school places for up to 24 students where there is a local need for such provision within Barnsley.”

A total of 61 neighbours have been made aware of the plans with no appeals to date.

Public consultation ends on May 18, with a target decision date set out for June 19.