Vocational school for borough’s special needs teens receives £3m extension

By Oliver Monk

31st Mar 2024 | Local News

Plans for St Philip's new two-story vocational centre (Photo: St Philip's via Kingston Council)
Plans for St Philip's new two-story vocational centre (Photo: St Philip's via Kingston Council)

A state-funded special needs school in Chessington has been granted £3.1m to build a new 2-storey vocational centre.

A Kingston Council committee approved St Philip's School Willow Project for 14- to 19-year olds unanimously last Tuesday 19 March.

The vocational centre will provide 18 additional specialist school places for teenagers with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) both in Kingston Borough and the surrounding areas.

St Philip's School, Chessington (Photo: Google Maps)

Describing St Philip's as an "important institution in our borough," council leader Cllr Andreas Kirsch told councillors the new building would open up new training possibilities for SEND students looking to get into the workplace.

The works would be replacing the current temporary structure "which obviously isn't ideal," according to Cllr Kirsch.

He added that the project would let "more children with special needs [be] placed in our borough instead of going to outside places or independent places."

The councillor also emphasised that the Willow Project would ease the pressure on the education budget, with a saving of up to £66,000 per student a year when comparing the cost of St Philip's to that of an equivalent independent school.

The funding comes from the Department for Education's High Needs Provision Capital Allocation fund.

With planning approval received in November 2023, it is hoped the new vocational centre will be ready by spring term in 2025.


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