A PRIMARY school in Christchurch is set to become a larger satellite site to increase special educational needs and disability spaces across the conurbation.

BCP Council chiefs are being asked to sign off on plans to allow Poole-based Winchelsea School to provide up to 60 key stage one and two places at Somerford Primary School.

The project involving the Draper Road site is one part of a programme being carried out to add SEND places in the BCP area.

A report to the local authority’s cabinet says Somerford Primary School currently hosts the 24-place Woodford satellite of Linwood School.

If the Winchelsea satellite is approved, Woodford would need to relocate. Work to facilitate this is ongoing, the report says.

“Cabinet has already made the decision to reduce the admission number for Somerford Primary School from 60 to 30 places from September 2021 onwards and to repurpose the accommodation for an increase in SEND provision on the site in September 2021,” said the report by Neil Goddard, the council’s director of children’s services quality and commissioning.

Cabinet members will consider the plans on February 10 after they are discussed by the children’s services overview and scrutiny committee this evening.

Mr Goddard’s report says both Somerford Primary and Winchelsea schools support the plans.

One parent who responded to the council’s consultation said they did not think it was fair to bring forward the proposal without knowing where Woodford would move to. Another said the replacement of the existing satellite at Somerford “didn’t make sense”.

Councillors have been warned if do not support the plansthen work will need to done to explore alternative SEND place expansion projects.

Mr Goddard’s report adds: “It could result in significant growth in the High Needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant deficit, as it would be challenging to identify alternative options for expanding specialist provision in existing mainstream sites. Alternatives are likely to be less cost efficient and unlikely to provide the sufficiency of additional places the local authority requires.”