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Swiss Cottage revamped special needs school to re-open

PUBLISHED: 12:13 06 March 2012

Mosaics unveiled at Jack Taylor School whose pupils are to move to Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre

Mosaics unveiled at Jack Taylor School whose pupils are to move to Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

One of the biggest special needs schools in the country is set to open in Swiss Cottage in September.

Swiss Cottage School Development and Research Centre will be moving back to its original site in Avenue Road after 18 months in Brondesbury Park during a radical overhaul.

When it reopens, the school will have room for 232 pupils, up from 160, with a wide range of special educational needs, including those with severe disabilities.

It will have up-to-date facilities including therapy rooms and a hydrotherapy pool, facilities for pupils with complicated needs, a teacher training centre and a total of 170 staff.

The school was selected for the rebuild because of its excellent academic record, including four “outstanding” reports from Ofsted.

Emma Murray, human resources manager, said: “Everybody is so excited. The school has been designed especially for special needs students while most others are normal schools which have been adapted.

New chapter

“We’ll be increasing the age range we can cater for from two to 19. That’s never been done before.

“It means we can support our students right up until they’re ready to go out into the world.”

Clare Crawford, business manager, said: “It’s a totally new chapter for us. We’re expanding from 160 to 232 pupils and will be able to take severely disabled pupils for the first time.”

The school will also have a training centre for the first time, taking in adults from across the UK and abroad.

Meanwhile Jack Taylor School in Ainsworth Way, South Hampstead, which currently caters for pupils aged from five to 19 with severe learning difficulties, will be closed in July and its pupils will instead go to the Swiss Cottage school.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “It makes sense to bring services together and the Avenue Road site was identified as having more potential than the existing Jack Taylor School site.”

He continued: “The new site will offer the highest quality facilities all on one site.”

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