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(UK) Worthing: School opens for autism, ADHD, specific learning difficulties, social emotional mental health issues

Mar 2024, Sussex World:  West Sussex has a new school for special needs children: Everything you need to know

A new school, tailored to special needs children, has opened in Worthing.

S. England

Courtlands Independent Special School has taken over an historic grade II listed building at Parklands Avenue, Goring-by-Sea, which had been empty for half a decade.

The Mayor of Worthing, Jon Roser, cut the ribbon the new school at its open day on Friday (March 1).

Headteacher Mark Birkbeck spoke to the Worthing Herald about his plans for the school.

He said: “We are a school for children with additional needs – those with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, specific learning difficulties, social and emotional mental health issues, as well as children who have been absent from school for a long time and are struggling to get back within large groups.

“It is vital that a school like ours is part of the local offer.”

After two-years of planning, the school has opened thanks to ‘huge financial input’ from the proprietor Peter Zalecki. Mr Birkbeck said more than a million pounds was invested into the ‘fantastic’ building and Mr Zalecki ‘continues to be committed financially’ to ‘supporting the school and helping its growth’.

Staff at the new school are committed to educating boys and girls, aged 11 to 14, with a ‘range of special educational needs’.  . . . 

Mr Birkbeck said the school will hopefully ease the burden on parents due to the lack of school places available in West Sussex. . . .

Places at the school will be allocated by West Sussex County Council, to children who have an educational healthcare plan. . . .

 “Hopefully in five / six years time, the school will be recognised as professional at the top of its game.”

The headteacher said there’s a lot of ‘desperate parents looking for places for their children’ but explained that an agreement with the local authority is needed before allocations are approved. . . .


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