£15m finance package will more than double school places at Bolton facility

The proposed development
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A £15.3m loan facility will enable a Bolton school for special educational needs and disability pupils build a new facility providing an extra 72 school places.

The Birtenshaw Group has provided a unique range of services for children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities for almost 65 years. Its vision is to ‘transform lives’, including the lives of young people in Bolton, across the North West and beyond.

The group currently operates two special schools in Bolton and Merseyside, an independent specialist college for 18-25-year olds in Bolton, several children’s homes, as well as a number of adult-supported tenancies, an enrichment service, a sport and activity centre plus a variety of complementary therapies.

The £15.3m loan facility from Triodos Bank, a specialist in positive social and environmental lending, will allow a refinance of existing debt, as well as construction of a new building next door to the existing school in Bromley Cross, Bolton.

It will provide state-of-the-art facilities to help children make progress not only with their education, but also with their social and independence skills.

The building will include nine new classrooms, as well as therapy spaces to support learning, wellbeing and development needs.

These include a hydrotherapy pool, rebound therapy room, sensory room and soft play areas. All areas have been designed to be autism friendly, with wide corridors and low-arousal décor.

Environmental factors have also been considered. For example, the design includes features such as combined heat and power units and wildlife-friendly outdoor areas.

Currently, Birtenshaw School Bolton is fully subscribed with 60 children with special educational needs and disabilities on the roll. This development will provide an additional 72 classroom places, more than doubling the school’s capacity. The Birtenshaw Group aims to open the new extension in September 2022.

David Reid, chief executive at The Birtenshaw Group, said: “We are delighted to have been offered such a significant investment from Triodos Bank. We hope to work with them for many years to come, possibly to open new special schools in other areas.

“We are pleased that Triodos Bank decided to support our development plans. This new building will help us to transform the lives of many children and young people with special educational needs and disability well into the future and will ensure The Birtenshaw Group continues to be one of the leading provider organisations in the UK.”

Phillip Bate, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “We aim to deliver positive impact through all of our lending, and a key area of focus is ensuring that all children have access to education and a good quality of life.

“The Birtenshaw Group has put the wellbeing and development of children at the heart of its work for over 60 years and we’re pleased to support this latest chapter to help the school take on more pupils.”