Issue - meetings

Proposal to establish a new Special School at the site of the former Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate.

Meeting: 22/08/2023 - Executive (Item 297)

297 Proposal to establish a new special school provision for Autistic children aged 11-19 at the former Woodfield Community Primary School, Harrogate from 1 September 2024 pdf icon PDF 386 KB

Additional documents:


Considered – A report of the Corporate Director for Children and Young People’s Service to report on the public consultation outcome on the proposal to open a new special school in Harrogate, and to seek approval to proceed with the required Presumption Route process.


Councillor Annabel Wilkinson introduced the report, noting the sad circumstances surrounding the closure of Woodfield Community Primary School on 31 December 2022 due to a lack of pupils. These proposals are now an opportunity to enhance the provision for autistic children using the former Woodfield site to open a new special school for pupils aged 11 to 19. The target opening date is 1st September 2024.


Councillor Paul Haslam welcomed the report as the local member and felt the local community welcomed the proposals, as shown in the positive consultation responses. He made a request that the large playing fields at the school be considered for dual access, to potentially allow community use of the fields. Councillor Annabel Wilkinson committed to passing the request on to whoever will take over the school for consideration.


Councillor Michael Harrison made a statement noting the criticism of the Executive when the decision was taken to close Woodfield Community Primary School with the justification of low pupil numbers and sufficient places in schools close by to accommodate the children affected. He highlighted that the Council commitment to education in the area, and that site specifically, is now evidenced by these proposals to reopen a special school on that site to address a shortfall of provision for children with autism locally and further afield. He also welcomed the retention of the library and community building as part of the plans. Following personal experience of working with neurodiverse adults, he has seen the importance of having the right support through education and very much welcomed the plans now to repurpose the school.


Resolved -


That approval be given to undertake the required Presumption Route process to establish a new special school for Autistic children aged 11-19 at the former Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate, with a target opening date of September 2024.