School Closure Threat

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Wiltshire Council Consultation – Special Education Needs Provision North Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council advise that with the significant growth in housing within Wiltshire all special schools are full but that an additional 220 new special school places will be required by 2026.

Proposals at present being consulted upon offer three options as a solution:

Option 1 – Create one new school for pupils with SLD/ Complex needs either in Chippenham, Trowbridge or Devizes area.

Option 2 – Develop two sites for Special Schools for pupils with SLD/complex needs either in Chippenham, Trowbridge or Devizes Area.

Option 3 Develop three for Special Schools for pupils with SLD/complex needs either in Chippenham, Trowbridge or Devizes Area

The Rowdeford Charity Trust was founded in 2001 (Registered Charity No 10888605)) and works with Rowdeford School and the community to advance the education of children and young people with disabilities or special needs, especially by the development, renovation and conservation of the assets, buildings and grounds of Rowdeford School.

The Trust raises funds through its charitable activities and grant applications. Since its formation the Charity has raised and invested in excess of some £I.5 million of funding which has enhanced the estate and facilities at Rowdeford substantially. The most significant examples are the Arts Centre and the recently completed Outdoor Learning Centre. (Should the School close, for each of these projects Wiltshire Council will be required repay a proportion of the investment grant as per Grant Agreement Dated 28/04/2017.)

  • Funding and Charitable Investment – Experience within the Trust and from its supporters has enabled significant additional funding for the School. In particular the Rowdeford Garden Fair which contributes on average £10,000 per annum.

  • Setting - This location provides the inspirational and historic environment so enjoyed and appreciated by all involved with the school and its activities. The historic and countryside setting enables the exploitation of the heritage focus of traditional outdoor skills and learning with more people whether it be in the natural environment of the woodlands, the Victorian Walled garden (Greenhouse restoration facilitated by funds raised by the RCT) , the wildflower meadow or the historic landscaped grounds. Through the increased collaboration with other schools, communities and groups this contributes to the breaking down of barriers between people with special needs, the wider community and workplaces adding to the ability of the School’s own pupils to communicate with others.

  • Geographical location – the location is easily accessed and central to Wiltshire.

  • Social Capital - The network, values and bonds that exist between the various groups, communities and School staff are due to the uniqueness of the School.(Born out by over 10,000 people signing the petition of support for the school)

  • Development Opportunities - The location could be developed appropriately to accommodate additional students without compromising the setting in line with the growth requirements. There are mobile classrooms, for which only temporary planning permission was given, and subject to full planning these could be replaced by a brick built and two story buildings.

The Rowdeford Charity Trust proposes that Wiltshire Council retains the School location and considers appropriate development of its facilities.

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We have done it !

Thanks to so many who have given time, money and pledges we have built our Outdoor Learning Centre !


We want to share traditional outdoor skills and learning whilst breaking down those barriers between people with special needs, the wider community and workplaces.

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The Rowdeford Charity Trust
Rowdeford School,
Rowde, Devizes,
Wiltshire SN10 2QQ.

Telephone: 07584 778151

Registered Charity - 1088605

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