A ‘POPULAR and outstanding’ school is to almost double its student numbers with a multi-million pound expansion.

And in a second boost to specialist education in the borough a new unit is planned for primary age children with autistic conditions.

A decision to expand Rumworth School is set to be confirmed by education chiefs in Bolton next week and £3.7m has been set aside to build the necessary new space.

In January, Cllr Anne Galloway, cabinet member for schools and education, gave notice of plans to increase the intake at the special school from 240 to around 400 from September 1 this year.

That plan is set to be confirmed on Monday, April 12 after consultation on the changes.

A report to councillors, outlining the decision, stated: “Within the last 10 years or so, it has been widely reported that there have been significant increase in pupil numbers across the borough,and which has also resulted in an increased need for additional places within special school provision.

“Rumworth School is a popular and outstanding secondary special school that supports the needs of children who have a range of learning difficulties and other needs.

“The council’s has a statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places for all pupils.

“By increasing pupil places at a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school of which Rumworth is classed as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, the proposal to increase pupil numbers closely aligns with the core vision outcome to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life and in an environment that suits their individual needs.”

The school, in Armadale Road, was previously substantially enlarged back in 2016.

The changes will mean the number of pupils in years seven to 11 will rise from 150 to 250 and the capacity for year 12 to 14 students will increase from 90 to 150.

Their most recent Ofsted inspection, two years ago, rated Rumworth as ‘outstanding’.

Another decision at the meeting Monday is set to allow increased number of children with autism spectrum disorders to attend a new unit at a mainstream school.

Moorgate Primary School in Tonge Moor is set to host the new building.

A report to the cabinet member for education, said: “The council are proposing to create a unit to accommodate six to eight primary age pupils at Moorgate to help young children throughout their primary education by providing targeted support for those with autism spectrum disorders within a

mainstream school setting.

“The council is proposing to build a facility as an extension to the existing school building.

“It will be created within a discrete setting but with immediate access to the main school when required.

“This will be created with a separate dedicated access, together with a drop-off and pick-up facility and a secure outdoor play area.”