A special needs school has welcomed plans to increase its capacity in the face of growing demand.

New Rush Hall school, in Fencepiece Road, Fairlop, will be expanded from 64 places to 80 after Redbridge Council gave plans the green light on Tuesday, January 7.

The school – rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2016 – is a specialist school for children and young people experiencing significant social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental health difficulties.

Executive headteacher, Sam Walters, welcomed the news, saying the demand for places had greatly risen in recent years.

He said: “There has been a huge increase in the number of young people needing EHC plans, particularly for social and mental health needs, has naturally meant that there are not enough appropriate school place to meet the populaces needs.”

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) is a legal document which describes a young person's special educational needs.

Since 2014, the number of Redbridge resident pupils with and EHC plan has risen approximately 35 per cent.

Council officials estimate the borough’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) pupil population will grow by 16.5 per cent (153 school places) for primary education and 33.7 per cent (248 places) for secondary by 2025.

As a result, the council is looking to create 140 new SEND places borough-wide by 2023.

All 16 of the created New Rush Hall spaces will be primary spots for younger children, effective from September 1, 2020.

Mr Walters insisted the new spaces were necessary to ensure young people did not have to travel for hours to go to school.

“When a young person has an EHC plan, the authorities look for a school closest to their home. If we are the only school in Redbridge that can support them and we are full, what will happen is the local authority will look at the surrounding boroughs, but if their schools are also full that child may end up having to travel for over an hour out of London just for their education.

“It’s much better for a young person that already has complex education needs not to have to travel an hour or more to get to school.

“Often that transport is then funded by the local authority, so it also makes sense financially to have the spaces available here in Redbridge.”