Brand-new building for Willow Dene special school

Published Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Major work to rebuild Willow Dene special school with superb new facilities has got underway.

Pupils and the head of school were joined by Councillor Jackie Smith, the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Cabinet Member for Children's Services, to view the early progress in the £14million rebuilding scheme. 

New buildings and pool

Willow Dene in Plumstead is the Royal Borough of Greenwich's primary school for children with special needs. Currently spread over a number of buildings, the £14million rebuild scheme will create a single purpose-built building and will also house a brand-new warm water pool. 

Willow Dene is attended by 159 primary school age pupils with a variety of complex needs. The school has been fully involved in the design of the redevelopment and pupils, parents and teachers are looking forward to a modern new school building which will have improved accessibility, more facilities, and the highest standards in sustainability. 

State-of-the-art facilities

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is funding the project together with government grants. The Royal Borough will contribute £1.1million towards the cost of the warm water pool.

Councillor Smith said, "It's so exciting to see this rebuild project getting underway. The new building with a fabulous warm water pool will be of great benefit to the pupils of Willow Dene and other potential users.

"The rebuild is going to lead to very high quality educational and therapy facilities for some of the most vulnerable and disabled children in the Royal Borough. With these fully inclusive, state-of-the-art facilities, I know that Willow Dene school will continue to be a centre of excellence for years to come."

Enhancing existing provision

Michelle Bernard, Head of School at Willow Dene, said, "It's amazing to see work starting on site, and we are relishing the opportunities that the new building will bring. The children are really excited and thoroughly enjoying following the progress of the build. They are taking photos and creating books that will chart the story of the rebuild of Willow Dene School.

"Having a purpose-built school and access to an onsite pool will enable us to enhance the amazing provision that is already on offer. The warm water pool will increase children's access to swimming, and further develop the outstanding physical progress made by children at Willow Dene School."