Plans to expand 'outstanding' specialist school with satellite site in Wilmslow


Cheshire East Council is proposing to create a new educational facility in Wilmslow to increase its capacity for Special School provisions.

The proposal is to create a satellite school at the premises formally known as Dean Row Day Centre, in order to expand Springfield School in Crewe, helping to address concerns raised by Ofsted inspectors in 2018.

The proposal, if agreed, would involve refurbishing and remodelling of day centre to create the required accommodation for up to 80 pupils aged 4-19 with a range of needs of including Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), Severe Learning difficulties (SLD) and Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD).

The Head Teacher and Governing Body of Springfield School, which is rated as an outstanding school by Ofsted, are fully supportive of the proposed expansion of Springfield School onto a satellite site.

If approved the proposed expansion will increase the number of pupil places from 170 to 250 from September 2022.

The current site in Crewe has a swimming pool, large sports barn and Forest School, the school envisages that pupils will share these facilities by utilising their three minibuses to have a weekly swimming/ gym/ forest school sessions.

A report prepared for the approval of the Children and Families Committee on Monday, 12th July, states "The proposal will meet the Council's priority to increase opportunities for children, young adults and adults with additional needs by helping to address concerns raised by inspectors in the Ofsted inspection (2018) through the expansion of local SEND provision allowing more children to attend a school within Cheshire East and their local community."

The report starts that the proposal to utilise the former Dean Row Centre for a school of up to 80 pupils offers potential placement savings of £2,856,000 per annum because it costs an average £13,800 per pupil at a CEC SEND School compared to the average cost per pupil at an independent non maintained school of £49,500.

Additionally, based on 80 pupils the report states the proposal would offer potential savings of up to £1,024,000 on home to school transport.

Dean Row Centre


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Helene Marshall
Friday 9th July 2021 at 5:29 pm
Where is the outside space for the children to use everyday? Surely these children should get everything they need. Not put into a building because it is available and within budget. 2 hours in a minibus to access outside space seems ridiculous.
Stuart Redgard
Friday 9th July 2021 at 9:16 pm
No mention of how this will affect "Ability Aware", the mobility and disability aids specialist retailer (a social enterprise company) who, as far as I understand, are still located in the same building. Or have they already relocated and if so does anybody know where too? They are still listed on the internet as residing at the Dean Row Centre.

I also wonder about the lack of onsite green space and play area. However, I am aware of the play areas at Howty Close (circa 500m walk away) and Browns Lane (circa 1000m walk away), and the green space associated with Oakenclough Childrens Centre (Circa 600m walk away).
Sandra Cox
Saturday 10th July 2021 at 6:25 pm
I believe that Ability Aware as a company was dissolved on 16th March 2021. Certainly the premises at Dean Row Centre have been closed for some time.

Stuart Redgard
Saturday 10th July 2021 at 11:01 pm
Thank you Sandra. Was not aware of that.
Yvonne Howson
Thursday 15th July 2021 at 7:04 am
This was also home to the local social work team following relocation from Chapel Lane. There is nothing left in Wilmslow now, everything is either based in Macclesfield or Sandbach and most staff work from home. It leaves nowhere for locals to pop into for information or face to face contact. Such a shame. This is not to say the new facilities for the school are not needed in this area, but I feel sad that we have lost local Social Services support.
Ian Nahapiet
Thursday 22nd July 2021 at 2:13 pm
I do agree that there is a need for this type of school in the Wilmslow area as I don't think currently there isn't one. However the proposal should include sufficient and the appropriate facilities for the number 80. Also I do agree that not having the required and appropriate basic facilities for the Special Need School will have an unfortunate effect on many of the children if they have to regularly spend much time travelling to them and returning.
The government and Cheshire East should be spending the appropriate cost per m2 as this will have a major effect on how the children will feel and also giving them the appropriate environment to be educated and develop in life.
These basic required issues should be sorted out in the Brief for the development.
As Winston Churchill said "we shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us". I totally agree with him. Therefore not only should the brief be well developed but so should the design which will need to have the correct funding level!!
Ian Nahapiet
Thursday 22nd July 2021 at 2:51 pm
Sorry for my typing mistake in my comment above. I did mean to say that I wasn't aware of a Special Needs School in Wilmslow, which is why I do feel a good design should be done with all the required facilities on one site.

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