Green light for new Lancashire secondary school for pupils with anxiety, depression or eating disorders

A small secondary school for pupils suffering from problems including anxiety, depression and eating disorders is set to open in Preston.
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The plans for the facility - in the Fishergate Court complex, off Christian Road - were first published last month and have now been approved by Preston City Council.

The school will cater for 11-16-year-olds who are unable to access mainstream education for a variety of medical-related reasons. It will be state-funded, but run by an independent provider, Refresh Education.

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No details have been released about the catchment area for the school and whether it will admit pupils from across a wider patch than a regular secondary.

The new secondary will be housed in part of the Fishergate Court complex, off Christian Road in Preston city centre (image: Google)The new secondary will be housed in part of the Fishergate Court complex, off Christian Road in Preston city centre (image: Google)
The new secondary will be housed in part of the Fishergate Court complex, off Christian Road in Preston city centre (image: Google)
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According to documents submitted to the city council, a maximum of 10 pupils will be on-site at any one time, along with four members of staff.

Classes will take place between 9am and 1pm in order to provide what Refresh Education says will be “a structured yet flexible learning environment that promotes academic achievement, personal growth, and wellbeing”.

The new establishment - said to have been founded by “experienced educators and dedicated parents” - intends to combine traditional qualifications with opportunities for work experience in order to prepare students for future employment.

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Three objections were raised to the proposal, which included concerns over there being only two parking spaces available for the school and no drop-off point in the immediate area - something which it was claimed could “put the children in danger”.

A report by council planning officers - who have granted prior approval to the scheme under permitted development legislation - stated that the applicant had suggested students would be likely to use public transport and that there were dropping-off options further down the road from the building. Lancashire County Council highways officers did not oppose the plans.

Objectors also warned of the “existing challenges” facing the local community - including antisocial behaviour, criminality, substance abuse and mental health problems.

Meanwhile, concerns were highlighted over the maintenance of the wider Fishergate Court building - which stands opposite County Hall - and the potential need for any extra costs incurred as a result of the school to be levied directly upon the provider and not shared between all tenants.

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In its application to Preston City Council, Refresh Education said of its plans:

“Central to our approach is a commitment to offering a diverse range of academic subjects, vocational pathways and experiential learning opportunities that cater to the unique interests, talents and aspirations of our students.

"Whether exploring the intricacies of mathematics, delving into the world of literature, or engaging in hands-on vocational experiences, our students are empowered to discover their passions and pursue their dreams with confidence and purpose.”

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