Agenda item

Proposal to retain and invest in Silverwood School Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses

      Report of the Chief Executive



Cllr Laura Mayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, and Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, SEND and Inclusion presented a report detailing proposals to invest in the substantial refurbishment of Silverwood School at the Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses to meet growing demand for special school places.  


The Deputy Leader reminded the Cabinet that they approved the establishment of a new maintained special school with a single leadership team for the existing St Nicholas and Larkrise Schools in November 2019 with the new school being known as Silverwood. Cabinet also approved the expansion of Silverwood to accommodate up to 400 pupils along with appropriate funding.


Cllr Davies commented on the importance of investing in high quality school places at both Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses, the launch of a formal consultation on the changes arising from the campuses proposed redesign and refurbishment, which included both sites becoming Primary phase campuses, and the transition of children and young people to the new site at Rowde.


The Leader confirmed his support for the proposals and noted that forecasting exact numbers was a difficult process, however place planning modelling has indicated that Wiltshire Council required an increase in provision year on year to meet growth. 


Cllr Ian Thorn welcomed the report and paid tribute to the parents, families and carers involved since the establishment of Silverwood. He commented on the following:


·       The Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses becoming primary phase and the impact on families of pupils transitioning to the Rowde site.

·       Welcomed the assurance that parents’ views will be considered and listened to during and following the consultation process.




I.               Cabinet meets its commitments made in November 2019 to consult on the future of the Silverwood School campuses, taking account of the forecast demand for special school places in Wiltshire and the views of  current and future stakeholders and, in particular, children and young people with SEND and their parent carers.


II.             Cabinet approves the use of the statutory processes, (under the ‘Making Significant Changes (Prescribed Alterations) to Maintained Schools’ Guidance November 2018) to launch a formal consultation on the proposed change to Silverwood School pupil numbers and the change in age range on the campuses. The proposal would create 75 Primary school places (Reception to Year 6) at the Chippenham campus and 75 Primary school places (Reception to Year 6) at the Trowbridge campus.


The consultation will be on the change of use of Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses (from all-through to Primary) and a change (reduction) in Silverwood pupil numbers. A consequence of this proposal is Silverwood Rowde would become the sole campus offering Secondary education for Silverwood students.


III.            Following formal consultation, Cabinet considers the proposal to retain and refurbish Silverwood School Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses, funded from pre-approved ‘Silverwood Phase 5’ capital funding.


IV.           Decision-making in respect of implementing the proposals in respect of Silverwood School is delegated to the Director of Education & Skills.


V.             Silverwood Phase 5 capital funds are already approved and delegated to the Director of Education & Skills. It is recommended that the Director can apply the capital funds in the refurbishment and fit out of Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses to deliver equity of provision (in shared spaces, finishes and fittings, furniture, and equipment) with specifications for the new build at Rowde campus. The Director of Education & Skills is authorised to apply some of the Phase 5 delegated budget, if necessary, facilitate works at the adjacent schools at Hardenhuish (Chippenham campus) and Paxcroft (Trowbridge campus) to support Silverwood students in accessing outdoor recreational and PE space, to better meet space planning standards and more inclusive play opportunities.


Reason for decision:


The proposal to invest in the substantial refurbishment of Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses is required if Wiltshire Council is to meet growing demand for special school places. The proposal is a very cost-effective solution to increasing Silverwood School provision by 150 places.

It is equally important to grow the school offer for learners with SEND. Through an investment in, and retention of, Silverwood School Chippenham and Trowbridge campuses, children with SEND will be able to access local Primaryage provision; complemented by an all-through offer (Reception to Sixth Form) at Silverwood Rowde.


Families with SEND will be able to replicate the mainstream experience, whereby their children attend the local Primary school at Chippenham, Trowbridge or Rowde campuses followed by the more extensive Secondary school experience at Rowde campus only. Silverwood School will continue to provide a hybrid Sixth Form offer, whereby it supports mainstream colleges with their offer, alongside in-house Sixth Form provision for young people with more complex and profound needs at Rowde and Poplar.


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