Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus in Ponteland.
Jane Imrie

Northumberland educational multi-million pound redevelopment gets green light

Planning permission has been granted for a ‘major’ investment in a North East college’s specialist facilities to meet the needs of students with complex educational needs.

A building at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus in Ponteland is set to be transformed into a dedicated facility for students aged 16 to 24 with specialist educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The site will comprise adaptable classrooms with access to specialist computer software and technology, sensory experience learning room, low sensory quiet room, independent living skills kitchen, sensory garden, accessible toilets, wet room and employability hub.

Nigel Harrett, principal of Northumberland College, commented: “With our new facilities, those with special educational needs and disabilities will be individually supported through a revised and innovative curriculum, with tailored support, to achieve their ambitions and develop the skills to work inclusively at the college and in the wider community.

“Students will benefit from our purpose-built SEND centre, which will cater for their needs whilst promoting inclusion in a wider college environment and a career-focused enrichment programme in land-based vocations.

“This is an exciting development for all of our current students with special needs and disabilities, as well as prospective students across Northumberland, their parents, carers and wider support network.”

The college, which merged with Sunderland College in March this year to create Education Partnership North East, is undergoing a multi-million pound investment programme, which includes plans for an equine centre including indoor arena, a specialist animal management centre and residential accommodation.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director of adult social care and children’s services at Northumberland County Council, added: “We are very pleased to see this project progressing at Northumberland College.

“It will provide great new learning opportunities in Northumberland for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.”

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