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Special school wins relocation bid

PUBLISHED: 17:29 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:40 07 July 2010

Around 50 jobs are set to be created at a former Norfolk hotel after plans were approved to relocate a school for children with behavioural, emotional, and social difficulties.

Around 50 jobs are set to be created at a former Norfolk hotel after plans were approved to relocate a school for children with behavioural, emotional, and social difficulties.

Pupils from the Sheridan House School at Southburgh, near Dereham, are set to move to Northwold, near Thetford, this month after getting planning permission to convert the former Comfort Inn.

Officials from the Priory Group spoke of their delight after councillors in west Norfolk approved the change of use on Monday, despite objections from highway officials.

The news means that Sheridan House School can expand from offering educational facilities for 12 boys to providing day and boarding places for up to 40 students aged between 10 and 16 at Northwold.

The independent school, which educates children with a range of learning and behavioural difficulties, will welcome students from across the UK and from surrounding local authorities.

Philip Scott, chief executive of the Priory Group, said there was a lack of suitable specialist education places in the area.

“We will be broadening our intake to support young people whose challenging behaviour is due to autism and who are in need of a safe and supportive environment, to admit girls and to admit day pupils.”

“We are moving to improve our facilities and allow more needy young people to experience the care and education that a quality provision can offer,” he said.

Bobby Evans, principal of Sheridan House, added that the school would work closely with the local community to resolve any concerns. He added that he hoped to form a 'friends' group within the village to support the school.

“Our doors will be open to local residents for celebrations, fetes and other activities, and I am confident that those who attend will be impressed with the behaviour and politeness of the young people.”

“We hope to be allowed to integrate ourselves into the local community and contribute positively to the parish of Northwold,” he said.


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