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Specialist school at capacity as children benefit from a stable learning environment

A specialist school in Shropshire which opened in September now has full classrooms and the pupils are benefitting from stability.

Nici Jones, headteacher (Left) and Kay Jones, managing director
Nici Jones, headteacher (Left) and Kay Jones, managing director

Bettws Lifehouse Kingsland Grange Independent Special School is specifically designed to meet the needs of children with a range of social and emotional needs, moderate learning difficulties or on the ASD spectrum from the age of five right up until 18-years old.

The school, which provides a more specialist education than mainstream schools, has expanded quicker than expected.

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It now has 73 students enrolled and learning at two sites – one on the 12-acre site of the former Shrewsbury High Preparatory School on Hereford Road, Shrewsbury, and the other in Bettws Cedewain.

Another 12 students are also set to join by the end of the summer, taking the school to capacity.

Children are referred there through a complex process based on need and managing director Kay Jones said there are a number of reasons why they have grown so quickly.

“We believe the location is a huge part of our growth,” she said.

“Now we’ve opened a site in Shropshire alongside our successful Bettws base, it has hugely expanded the geographical pull of students and councils that can refer pupils here.

“We have pupils from Dudley, Wolverhampton and Telford & Wrekin – but it is still largely the Shropshire Council area.

“It is great to have full year groups and the children will benefit from knowing everyone and entering a period of stability at school, something which is very important in a nurturing school setting for children with complex needs.”

The school has taken on more staff in order to accommodate the growing pupil numbers.

They are all highly trained in communication skills and addressing the specific needs of all children with a wide range of experience and knowledge to bring to the team.

Kay added: “The referral process is such a complex thing and there are so many elements to consider.

“We are pleased to be able to open our doors to so many children clearly in need but we also know there are many more children out there not getting the help they require.

“We sometimes have difficulty managing expectations but we want to be clear to parents that we are working closely with local education authorities across the Midlands to ensure that those children that would benefit from learning with Bettws Lifehouse can do so, whenever we have the capacity to help.”

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