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School starts new chapter as permanent head is appointed and emerging build plans are shared

Published 12 February 2021
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A school for special needs pupils in North Wiltshire is entering a new chapter as a permanent head is appointed, and emerging plans for the new school build are shared.

On 1 September 2020, the three school sites of Larkrise, Rowdeford and St. Nicholas came together as one school now known as Silverwood School. 

Sean McKeown was appointed as interim executive headteacher at the time and has recently been appointed by the school governing board to take on the headship permanently. He will have a key role supporting the new school in its transformation, alongside the senior leadership team within all three sites.

Mr McKeown said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have been appointed as the permanent Executive Headteacher of Silverwood School. Our school has the most amazing children, young people and dedicated staff imaginable. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that together, we will create an extraordinary school of which our whole community will be exceptionally proud."

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills said: "These are exciting times for Silverwood School and I am pleased Mr McKeown has taken on this headship at a crucial time. The new build is an essential part of the wider vision to create a system of excellence to ensure we provide the very best education for our pupils in an environment where they can thrive."

Mr McKeown's permanent appointment is made as the local community is encouraged to view emerging plans of the proposed school build to create up to 400 places on the Rowde site, with construction on the new facilities expected to start in summer 2021.

The designs will be shared at a virtual meeting from 6pm on 3 March and people can register to attend by emailing SpecialSchools@wiltshire.gov.uk. It will include a presentation from construction partners Willmott Dixon setting out how the school will meet pupils' needs, how it will be sustainably built with an aim to achieve net zero carbon in operation, and how it will benefit the community in terms of employment and facilities.

The full planning application for the build at the Rowde site will be submitted later in spring and is shaped by feedback from a series of design workshops with the school community, local people, families and staff. Some preliminary archaeological survey work has already been carried out on the site.

The £33m programme will be a major step forward in creating a first-class and inclusive education for SEND pupils and their families in North Wiltshire.  Pupils will continue to get involved at all stages of the project, getting to know more about the many different types of roles and people who get involved in construction, and to feel a real sense of ownership over the new building.

Published 12 February 2021
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