A MAJOR investment has led to a North Yorkshire school being redeveloped for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The new satellite special school, Mowbray School in Ripon, has welcomed in more than 40 new pupils.

It has been created from the site of the city’s former Moorside Infant School and caters for primary-aged children in the local area.

Following a £723,000 investment from the County Council, it has been fitted with specialist facilities, including five newly equipped and fully refurbished classrooms.

It boasts indoor and outdoor play and sensory equipment, calm rooms and a forest school set among trees within the grounds.

The new satellite special school – part of Mowbray School in Bedale - is part of the County Council’s current strategic plan for SEND in North Yorkshire. This involves developing more local provision for children and young people with SEND.

The school, which opened two classrooms to 12 pupils last year, serves the Ripon, Harrogate, Boroughbridge and Knaresborough area and is a satellite of Mowbray School in Bedale.

There are now 42 pupils enrolled, which is set to increase in September when a sixth class opens.

Mowbray School executive headteacher, Jonathan Tearle said: “This has been a project four years in the making.

“We’re very fortunate we have a good, central location for the new site and it is set in lovely grounds.

“We added play equipment into the grounds, developed a forest school and will be creating a bike track in summer.

It’s a fabulous facility and one which we are very proud of – it’s such a credit to the dedication and work of our staff.

"It’s been nice seeing the school grow from 12 to 42 pupils over the last few months.

“Now we have five classrooms, rather than two, we can place children into more appropriate groups and with similar peers.

"Seeing how the children have benefited is fantastic.

"It’s been uplifting to see them exploring the playground and playing and developing friendships."

Mr Tearle said the development has also had a wider positive effect by creating jobs in Ripon.

It employs 30 local staff, with more catering jobs to come when the kitchens open up in September.