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Ground breaking ceremony marks major step forward for Glendinning House


Exciting plans to open a new special free school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those on the Autism spectrum, whose needs cannot be met within a mainstream school took a major step forward this week with a ground-breaking ceremony being held on the site.

Glendinning House will be run by Wave Multi Academy Trust working closely with Devon County Council. Based in Newton Abbot, the school will provide 120 new school places for children and young people between the ages of 7 and 19 who would benefit from a special school environment because of barriers to learning, which include sensory processing needs and anxiety.

Glendinning House will be the first special school to be run by the Wave MAT which provides high quality education for students in Devon and Cornwall who are not in school for medical reasons or who have been excluded from school.

Wave Chief Executive, Rob Gasson said: “We are pleased to have been given approval by the Department for Education to run Glendinning House.  Every single member of the Wave MAT team works very hard to ensure that we are providing the highest quality education for all our pupils.

“We recognise that each child learns differently and use a range of methods to ensure that we can tailor our approach to their individual strengths.  Our proven approach has been to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which enables all children to succeed and we will be using this same approach with Glendinning House.

“We will be working with families, partners and multi-professional teams to ensure that we are supporting pupils’ needs and establishing an ethos where they feel secure, are encouraged to talk, are listened to and feel safe.”

This week’s ground-breaking ceremony was led by the Chair of Devon County Council Councillor John Mathews and Rob Gasson.

They were joined by Councillor Gordon Hook, local Devon County Councillor; Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services & Schools; representatives from the Department for Education; Gaynor Boyden and Clare Barden from Wave MAT; and members of the Glendinning Governing Body and Friends of Glendinning House. Also taking part were other members of Devon County Council and representatives of Teignbridge District Council and Newton Abbot Town Council.

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, said: "We welcome the start of work on this important project and we're proud to be supporting Wave MAT by providing the site for the new school which has helped to bring forward this much needed investment in special educational needs provision in Newton Abbot.

"Following the recent opening of a new special school in Tiverton it will be extremely beneficial to have another school in Devon supporting children and young people with autism. Wave MAT's Glendinning House will create provision closer to home for children and young people with autism, reducing their travel time to school."

Situated on the former Milber Infant school site in Newton Abbot, Glendinning House will provide 48 places for children aged 7 to 12 when it opens in September 2020, rising to the full 120 places by 2023.  It has been designed specifically for children and young people with needs, including sensory processing and anxiety. 

The school will have smaller class sizes than a traditional school and greater levels of personalisation, with the individual needs of each child at the heart of their education.  The curriculum has been designed to develop children’s communication and interaction skills in a different environment to that of a traditional classroom and will be focused on learning outdoors and through practical experience. The aim is to support pupils to develop independence, gain relevant qualifications and achieve their ambitions by enabling them to enjoy, succeed, recognise and celebrate all achievements.

Beatrice Mukherjee, Glendinning House Development Lead, said: “This is a very exciting milestone and means a great deal to all involved in the development of our new school. Glendinning House is a much needed provision for our community and we have received resounding support throughout our pre-opening phase. 

“We really look forward to working with our pupils, their families and the community to ensure that our children receive an education that meets their needs and supports their ambition.”

Paul Gale, Divisional Director at Interserve Construction, said: “We are thrilled to be joined by the Wave  MAT, Devon County Council, the Department for Education, Teignbridge District Council and Newton Abbot Town Council to celebrate this special ground-breaking ceremony and showcase the work we do on behalf of DfE to deliver a vital education project, which is integral to the learning and development of Devon’s children.  

“Glendinning House is in line with our strategic aim to deliver world-class property solutions to the UK education sector and reflects Interserve’s capabilities in the UK education sector.”

Earlier this year Wave MAT was commissioned by Cornwall Council to provide education services for children and young people who attend the NHS Foundation Trust’s new child and adolescent mental health unit “Sowenna” which has been opened on the Bodmin Hospital Site.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved in Wave MAT and are looking forward to working with staff, parents and young people from Glendinning House to achieve the same outcomes” said Rob Gasson.

“We are confident that we can meet the needs of this group of students and engage them in a variety of core and non-core curriculum activities. We are committed to progressing the social, emotional and academic outcomes for all pupils to enable them to achieve their true potential.”

 We are running a public consultation providing opportunity for the community to demonstrate their support for our new special school. In order to take part in this please visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/Glendinninghousesurvey or visit our website, choosing the support us page and following the link.