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Governors, staff, students and guests have celebrated the opening of The Emmaus Centre, the new dedicated SEND provision at Saint Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath. The new facilities were officially opened by Bishop Declan Lang on Wednesday 13 June following extensive building and landscaping works, completed earlier this term.

The £303,000 facility will provide the school with a range of enhanced teaching and learning rooms as well as a wellness centre and outdoor sensory garden, creating a modern and flexible space to support students in their studies whilst also providing a place of sanctuary and support for those in need.

The event welcomed guests of honour including the Deputy Mayor of Bath, the Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, and

Christopher Wilford, Senior Practitioner Youth Offending Team, together with representatives from Clifton Diocese.

Acting Headteacher at Saint Gregory’s, Kevin McDermott, thanked everyone for attending and spoke of the need for schools to be proactive in addressing the mounting pressure on young people as they battle with learning needs or mental health issues and develop ways to support them.

“The Emmaus Centre is a wonderful addition to Saint Gregory’s and creates a very unique SEND provision in the local state sector. We are increasingly aware of the interaction between physical spaces and learning environments, buildings that also provide students with the space to reflect and find sanctuary when needed. Modern facilities improve not only the school’s physical environment but also its learning culture and ability to offer the very best care and support for all.”

“This memorable occasion will allow us to continue to offer students outstanding pastoral care whilst at the same time open a new building for its future success.”

Chair of Governors at Saint Gregory’s, John Delaney, added: “At a time when the education of pupils with special education needs is at risk due to cuts to both school revenue funding and to the services supporting students’ needs in local authorities, Saint Gregory’s is an exception to the rule, providing high-quality learning environments for all.”

“There is an increasing struggle for schools to support students with special education needs but we are determined that Saint Gregory’s will continue to be at the forefront of inclusive schooling and the Emmaus Centre will provide modern, purpose-built facilities to support this vision.”