One of the South’s leading alternative schools has won a landmark planning appeal that paves the way for it to strengthen its long-term education of older teenage pupils.
Ringwood Waldorf School, a centre for Steiner teaching, has gained formal approval to build a two-storey extension housing four classrooms, a science lab, music, art and staff rooms, and library space.
The decision follows a lengthy planning process with East Dorset District Council and enables the creation of an ‘Upper School’ dedicated to children aged 14 to 18.
Up to now, educational provision at the 41-year-old school in Folly Farm Lane, Ashley, has in most cases had to end at age 16.
The new building will also help the school community make better use of existing accommodation for lower and middle school pupils on the campus.
Elaine Holt, Chair of College at Ringwood Waldorf School, said: “This is a landmark decision that gives us the chance to secure the long-term future of the school in terms of facilities for 14 to 18-year-olds.
“It is wonderful news for the increasing numbers of families who want their children to complete the Steiner education they first began as three-year-olds in our kindergartens.
“We knew we needed to extend our accommodation to enable this to happen and we’re thrilled to have secured the official permission to take our plans forward.”
Elaine expressed thanks to planning consultant Mike Hirsh at Ferndown-based practice Intelligent Land for his advice and guidance throughout the planning process. She also praised designer Keir Polyblank for pro bono work.
Parents, teachers and friends of the school launched a £350,000 fundraising appeal in support of the Upper School plans in 2010.