Work commences on next stage at Alternative Provision School in Barrow

The construction of a much-anticipated new education facility in Barrow has taken a significant step forward.

Westmorland and Furness Council is progressing with the £2.9 million project to build a 40-place Alternative Provision at Channelside, to provide education for children who will benefit from alternative education provision.

This provision will work alongside other education providers to support up to 40 young people whose needs can be met in this setting with support provided to access the curriculum.

This will enable children and young people to be educated within their communities in an adaptable building.

The development site is close to the A590 for those travelling into the town and will give a new lease of life to a piece of land which has been vacant since 1985.

Sue Sanderson, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “I’m so pleased to see work progressing on site in Barrow.  We’re entering an exciting time for education in Westmorland and Furness as we move forward with our strategy to offer inclusive, local provision where everyone has access to good quality education and is enabled to realise their full potential.

“Our aim is to provide an alternative curriculum and education experience for children and young people who find the mainstream environment challenging.”

“This will be an invaluable facility for those who need it and I’m really looking forward to seeing the next phase take shape.”

Lisa Balderstone, Head Teacher at South Cumbria Pupil Referral Service, of which the new provision will be a part of, said: “By adapting the way we deliver education to support young people and their families, we can really help to re-engage with students who have struggled in a mainstream setting, through tailored learning from specialist staff, with smaller class sizes and a significant focus on a tailored approach to identify and meet needs.

“This new provision will bring more places for us to further support young people who need it, to enable them to transition to good post 16 opportunities.”

Cllr Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Assets, said: “Providing alternative provision locally will prevent the need for children to travel further afield to access the provision they need. Transporting students long distances is never the best solution for young people and it is not a good use of resources given the impact on carbon footprint.

“The new spaces really will provide huge benefits and I look forward to seeing the future intake of young people taking positive steps in this new provision that meets their needs.”

Next stages will include foundations, drainage and external works ahead of the installation of the modular buildings, which will commence in the spring.  Works are anticipated to be completed by Winter 2024.

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