MIDDLEWICH youngsters with social, emotional or mental health needs will soon be able to benefit from two new special schools.

The two schools will open in Crewe this September, following investment by Cheshire East Council to meet a growing demand in education for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the borough, including Middlewich.

Axis Academy and Lavender Field School will offer places for four- to 18-year-olds, with each school having its own specialism.

Children with mental health needs will be able to get support from Axis, run by the Youth Engagement Schools Trust, which opens on Tuesday initially to 32 students, before expanding to 48 by 2022.

Nic Brindle, chief executive of the Youth Engagement Schools Trust, said: “We are thrilled to open the Axis Academy to help support vulnerable children in the area and we are delighted to be able to start helping change children’s futures for the better.

“The Axis Academy offers a full broad academic curriculum taught by subject specialists allowing all students to find their passions and develop these leading to apprenticeships, college placements and A-levels.

“This is reinforced by a rounded and complete support network including mental health counselling, wellbeing support, and activities focussed on ensuring we have resilient lifelong learners.

"We are proud to be able to start helping change children’s futures for the better and we can’t wait to get started and share the successes of our first ever students as they successfully master their own education.”

The Axis Academy will focus on all areas of mental health support, from personal wellbeing to academic success.

Meanwhile, Lavender Field School will accommodate up to 50 pupils from September, with a potential expansion to 75 from September 2021.

The school will offer a personalised education, rooted in social, emotional and physical development.

Lucy Gibbs, co-executive headteacher of Lavender Fields, said: “We are extremely excited to be opening our doors to pupils in September and are honoured to have the opportunity to offer a life-changing experience to children and their families.

“Pupils will have a range of additional needs and enjoy an innovative, personalised and therapeutic education.”

The need for more special schools in Cheshire East was established in 2017, with a plan that recognised many pupils with SEND had very long journeys to and from school.

The council found that one in five youngsters with SEND at the time were travelling more than 45 minutes each way and many educated outside of the borough.

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The last three years has seen considerable capital investment in Cheshire East schools to increase both the number of places for children and young people with SEND, but also to improve support and resources in mainstream schools.

Cllr Kathryn Flavell, CEC cabinet member for children and families, said: “Like most councils, we have a growing need for school places for children and young people with special educational needs.

“I’d like to thank and praise all the teams working on the construction of both schools including our school projects team, the Youth Engagement Youth Trust and Lavender Fields.

“I know they have worked tirelessly to keep the projects on schedule, so they can open their doors and welcome students to the new term during these difficult times.

“I would also like to thank the Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum for their help and support in understanding the views of parents and carers, and enabling us to provide children and young people with the excellent education and support they deserve in a school close to family, friends and their communities.”

More information on both schools can be found at theaxisacademy.org and lavenderfieldschool.co.uk