Two Liverpool special schools have re-opened in a new multi-million pound building.
Bank View and Redbridge High Schools in Fazakerley have moved into a linked building with some shared facilities one mile from their old home.
Both of them have increased their capacity – with Bank View going from 120 to 150 places and Redbridge from 90 to 120 places.
The building is home to two of the 40 schools being rebuilt across the north-west under the government’s Priority School Building programme.
The Department for Education funded the rebuilding of Redbridge, while Liverpool City Council paid for Bank View High School. The work forms part of Mayor Joe Anderson’s £169 million Schools Investment Programme, which is seeing at least 12 schools rebuilt or refurbished.
Redbridge High School has specialist facilities including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms, a soft play area and a therapy room.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “We have to make sure that the children with the most needs get the best teaching in quality buildings. We are responding to the increase in demand for places by replacing old and worn out facilities with better quality buildings.
“The investment at Redbridge and Bank View enables staff to teach pupils the full curriculum, which is hugely important in making sure they achieve their full potential.”
Bank View caters for autistic pupils and those with emotional and behavioural difficulties while Redbridge is for those with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
Paul Cronin, head teacher of Redbridge High School, said: “We are all absolutely delighted that the new school project has now come to fruition.
“Staff and governors are thrilled to able to provide our pupils with state of the art facilities they need and deserve to enhance their learning experiences even further.
“The pupils themselves have adapted immediately to the new facilities and take great delight in welcoming visitors and showing off the new building.”
Juliette Gelling, head teacher of Bank View School, said: “Everyone at Bank View School is delighted with the new building. Each part of the school has been designed to meet the needs of our students and they are already benefiting from the new areas of school, such as the vocational and sensory rooms.
“All the staff and pupils have settled well and we are all so proud of our new environment which promotes a calm and relaxing atmosphere in which pupils can progress socially and academically.
“This is an exciting time in Bank View’s life and we very much look forward to watching our students flourish and move successfully on to the next stage of their lives.”
Schools Minister Lord Nash said: “Our investment in school buildings across the country is transforming the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers.
“The opening of Bank View and Redbridge High Schools in Liverpool is a key milestone for the Priority School Building Programme in the north-west.
“Ensuring all children have access to the best possible schools and facilities is just one part of our commitment to help all young people reach their potential regardless of their background. These buildings will provide modern, fit-for-purpose schools for pupils for many years to come.”
Anthony Dillon, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon, said: “We are delighted to have completed Bankview and Redbridge.
“Not only do we have schools that are fit for 21st century learning, we have maximised their economic impact in terms of jobs and local spend throughout the construction period.”
Norris Green councillor Barry Kusner said: “This is a further evidence of the regeneration of Sparrowhall and the wider area. Ward councillors have already been speaking to the headteachers about how they can participate in community activities. This development is a welcome addition to other regeneration work in the area including shops, houses and recreation facilities.”