New use for old school in Ilkeston is discussed

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The former Bennerley School site in Ilkeston could be the new home for Breadsall Pupil Referral Unit under plans announced by Derbyshire County Council.

The authority is to launch a consultation on proposals to relocate Breadsall CE Primary School, which will also see the PRU relocating to one of the buildings at the former Bennerley School in Ilkeston.

The site off Cotmanhay Road was handed back to the county council in 2014 after the school merged with the former Ilkeston School – now Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy.

As part of the plans, the main block off Bennerley Avenue would become home to the PRU, a special educational needs support team and the multi-agency team currently based at Cotmanhay Children’s Centre.

Councillor Jim Coyle, deputy cabinet member for children and younger adults, said: “By re-locating the pupil referral unit to an empty building in Cotmanhay we could free up much-needed space which would allow us to create state-of-the-art accommodation and provide on-site playing fields.

“Before we go ahead with these changes we will be asking for people’s views, including people living near both of the sites, staff, students and governors at the PRU and the primary school and neighbouring schools.”

Labour’s Catherine Atkinson is supporting the plans. She said: “I’ve been working with Labour councillors and the community to keep as much as possible of the Bennerley site for the community.

“The school site has extensive playing fields, a sports hall and performance hall, that we want to see used by our young people and the wider community.

“I welcome the proposals to keep these key parts of the site for the community.”