A SECTION of a Bournemouth open space is set to handed over to an educational academy trust to allow it to press ahead with a new special school satellite site.

Ambitions Academies Trust is attempting to gain approval from the Department for Education to expand Longspee Academy.

Alongside development of the school's main Poole site in Learoyd Road, Canford Heath, to allow for an additional five pupil places, proposals have been tabled to convert Bournemouth Learning Centre so it can operate as a satellite school location with a permanent provision for up to 54 places.

The plans would double the size of the school from 59 places up to 118 places and see its provision change from Year 1 to Year 9 to Reception to Year 11.

A document outlining the reasons the trust is seeking to expand says: "The key objective of this proposal is to support Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council in its statutory duty to provide sufficient school places.

"The number of children and young people assessed as requiring a place at a specialist education provision in the BCP area has increased in recent years. Local provision to meet these needs is of high quality, but capacity has not been expanded sufficiently to meet this additional demand.

"In partnership with the BCP community of schools, BCP Council has developed a range of proposals to increase capacity and create new provision to meet the needs of these pupils. This will be achieved by creating new ‘satellite’ provision that is located in mainstream schools but operated by local special schools, expanding existing specialist provision and creating resource bases in mainstream schools to provide for pupils with additional needs.

"Through ensuring additional appropriate provision is available to meet needs closer to where children and young people live there will be a reduction in the distances travelled to get to school and an increase in the numbers being educated within their own communities.

"The additional provisions across BCP will allow for a graduated response to need whilst creating capacity within the system and greater choice for parents/carers."

A consultation by the trust is open until October 15 for interested parties to give their views. If approved, the capacity increases will take place during the 2021 calendar year.

As part of the proposals, BCP Council has launched a formal process to dispose of 1,940 square metres of Slades Farm to the trust.

This move is subject to a separate consultation which closes on November 6.

A spokesperson for BCP Council said: “In response to the increased demand for specialist education provisions in the BCP area, BCP Council are proposing that the Bournemouth Learning Centre (BLC) is converted into a special education school.

“In order for the building to be used as a school, some additional space is required so that future students are able to enjoy access to a suitable outdoor play area.

“BCP Council are therefore proposing to dispose of a small area of the Slades Farm land to make it available for school development.”