New era for former private girls school

Brantwood Specialist School official opening........... headmaster Constantin Court.
Brantwood Specialist School official opening........... headmaster Constantin Court.

A SHEFFIELD school which closed more than two years ago has opened a new chapter as a centre for children with special educational needs.

Coun Sylvia Dunkley, outgoing Lord Mayor of Sheffield, officially opened Brantwood Specialist School as her last engagement in her year of office.

The Nether Edge building was previously a private girls school for more than a century, but closed due to financial difficulties in early 2010.

It was bought last year by Freeman College, which educates young people with autistic spectrum conditions and developmental delay.

David Heugh, fundraising director, said: “The addition of Brantwood allows the college to widen our provision of specialist education to children aged seven and upwards.

“The purchase and redevelopment of Brantwood also allows us to provide much-needed and specialist day and residential education and care for young children in Sheffield and the city region.”

New headteacher Constantin Court also welcomed Aonghus Gordon, founder of the Ruskin Trust which runs Freeman College.

Up to 50 children aged up to 19 can be taught at the school, which can provide residential care for some of the students for up to 52 weeks a year.

Almost £2 million has been spent on the project to convert the premises. It will offer a mix of therapies and classroom-based subjects, but also a more practically-based curriculum, including subjects such as ceramics and pottery, wool and textiles and horticulture.

Mr Court said: “I feel extremely privileged to be leading staff and students on this journey.

“We believe in developing the whole person, meeting the physical, emotional, spiritual and social as well as the academic needs of the pupil.”