ROTHERHAM Council is to buy the closed Dinnington College for a new specialist education centre.
The authority said the new venture would operate as a free school, run by a provider for pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties.
In the last 18 months, 290 children have been assessed as needing SEMH education in Rotherham — but have to attend pupil referral units or travel to out-of-borough placements.
The council will also look to relocate Newman’s older children at the Dinnington campus — closed by RNN Group in July — while part of the Whiston special school is rebuilt.
RMBC deputy leader Cllr Gordon Watson, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Since 2018, the council has invested £2.5 million in creating more than 200 additional school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities in Rotherham.
“But demand, especially for specialist mental health provision, continues to grow.
“The availability of the Dinnington campus provides us with a game changing opportunity to consolidate our existing pupil referral unit provision, provide specialist mental health provision to young people in Rotherham for the first time and fulfil our long term aim of redeveloping Newman School with new purpose built facilities more befitting the superb teaching and therapy it provides for children with disabilities and complex needs.”
SEMH issues can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attachment issues, mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, and autism spectrum conditions.
The plans will go before cabinet members on November 23.