EXPANSION plans have today (Tuesday) been announced for an Isle of Wight special school.

St George's School, in Watergate Road, Newport, is set to benefit from an £860,000 funding boost from the Isle of Wight Council.

The cash injection will allow the school to make significant changes to its accommodation with a new sixth form centre and 'employability hub' planned to provide additional facilities for up to 50 young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Welcoming the news, Cllr Paul Brading, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills, said the plans would help meet growing demand for special school places on the Island and support the post-16 SEN strategy.

He said: "Today's announcement underlines our commitment to give every child the tools to successfully transition into adulthood and to be supported towards greater independence and employability.

"Special school places are already in high demand, and this is expected to rise further over the coming years, so investment is required now to ensure we can meet that need."

Under the plans the sixth form will move into a bespoke facility on the same site.

It will support young people's independence and employability skills as they enter adulthood, and help bridge the gap between education and employment.

Sue Holman, headteacher at St George's, said: "The demand for places at St George's School is rising year on year.

"This project will enable us to free up capacity in the main school while enabling our sixth form students to start their transition to adulthood in a bespoke new provision."

Last month the council announced plans to open the Island's very first early years SEN hub at Clever Cloggs Pre-school, Newport, providing tailored support for pre-school children with additional needs and their families.