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Plans for new Preston secondary school for pupils with health issues unveiled

Posted on - 22nd February, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Education, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Schools
Proposed Refresh Education School
Proposed Refresh Education School

Plans have been unveiled for a new secondary school in Preston for pupils suffering from health issues including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

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A disused office building within the Fishergate Court complex, off Christian Road, has been earmarked for the facility, which would cater for 11-16-year-olds who are unable to attend a mainstream school for a variety of medical-related reasons.

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The new establishment intends to combine traditional qualifications with opportunities for work experience in order to prepare students for future employment.

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The school day would run from 9am until 1pm offering what education provider Refresh Education describes as “a structured yet flexible learning environment that promotes academic achievement, personal growth, and wellbeing”.

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The company has approached Preston City Council for advice as to whether planning permission would be required for the conversion of the building – opposite County Hall – from offices to an Ofsted-registered education unit.

A maximum of 10 pupils would be on-site at any one time, along with four members of staff – and the facility would be state-funded, but independent.

Refresh Education says in its planning statement to the city council that the new school has been founded by “experienced educators and dedicated parents” and would stand as “a testament to the transformative power of personalised learning, holistic support and unwavering commitment to student success”.

The document adds:  “We believe that every student deserves the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their background, abilities or circumstances. Our founders’ commitment to excellence, innovation and inclusivity permeates every aspect of our institution, guiding us as we strive to create a safe, supportive and affirming learning community where every student can flourish and succeed.

“We pride ourselves on offering a well-rounded curriculum that blends elements of the National Curriculum with a strong emphasis on qualifications and vocational experiences.

“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.”

The firm pledges to work closely with local mainstream schools and the local education authority, Lancashire County Council.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service approached County Hall to determine whether it had any direct involvement in the plans. It has not been possible to reach Refresh Education for further comment.

The application to Preston City Council states that no structural changes would be made to the premises inside or out and no outdoor activities would take place there.

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