PLANS to extend a school for kids with special educational needs to make room for another 25 children have been approved by Barnsley Council.
An application to turn the former Worsbrough Youth Centre, based on Ardsley Road, into a school which would cater for 24 key stage three children was originally approved by the council’s planning board in February.
However, fresh plans were submitted earlier this year to extend the school to provide ‘vital’ additional space.
The works to facilitate the conversion are now well underway and a further five jobs in addition to the current 13 have also been approved.
A report states: “The existing building can provide education for 24 children at key stage three level.
“There is an identified pressing need for additional teaching capacity.
“The proposed extension would allow the capacity of the school to be increased to 50 pupils and would also allow for teaching at both key stage three and key stage four levels.
“This would, therefore, significantly broaden the benefits that the school can deliver.
“The development would also create five additional jobs.”
The report also confirms that the extension will not create any additional pressure on the existing highway network.
It added: “The previous approval includes the reconfiguration of the existing car park to provide 28 parking spaces.
“The proposed extension does not require any additional parking provision.
“The extension will increase staff numbers from 13 to 18, so all staff parking can be easily accommodated with a significant remaining allowance for visitors.
“The intended arrangement is for three minibuses arriving and departing at staggered times.
“The use of three minibuses for 20 pupils involves unused seats.
“As such, the intended increase in pupil numbers to 50 would not result in a proportional increase in the number of minibus trips.
“Instead, one additional minibus is planned, and the total of four minibuses would be sufficient to meet the travel needs of all 50 pupils.
“Parental drop-offs would remain a very small proportion of the preferred pupil access method and can be easily accommodated within the dedicated drop off zone.
“Overall, the proposal would give rise to no issues in respect of highways safety and efficiency and is fully policy complaint in this respect.”
The school is currently undergoing a £1.3m refurbishment, but plans were hindered earlier this year when thousands of pounds worth of copper were stolen from the site.
Coun Jake Lodge, who represents the area, said the school will be a benefit to his ward.
He told the Chronicle: “The West Riding School is an exciting development in the educational history of Worsbrough and the wider borough.
“The environment we learn in has a huge impact, so it’s pleasing to know that pupils at the school will have a new and innovative space to learn and develop.
“However, I am mindful that there is a duty to ensure that this causes no disruption to residents in the local area.
“But I am sure that many will be happy that there is an environment for children and young people to thrive in.’’