MORE than £2.6 million is set to be invested in upgrading two York schools.

City of York Council is planning to put the money towards upgrades at Applefields School, a special school for secondary school students, so that the number of pupils can increase from September.

Work will also take place to improve and reorganise the classrooms at Danesgate, which is home to York’s pupil referral unit and a specialist site for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Senior councillors will consider the plans at a meeting tomorrow, Thursday.

Applefields School is set to see pupil numbers increase from 178 to 196 in the 2021/22 academic year.

A council report says there is also an increase in the number of young people with highly complex needs, including profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism. It says the school needs extra space and staff support.

Under the plans, the school's Transition Zone space will be turned into teaching space to meet the increase in pupil numbers, a classroom will be divided into smaller teaching areas and "chill out rooms" and new offices for staff would be built.

The work is set to take place over two years to minimise disruption and the project is expected to cost £765,000.

At Danesgate, education bosses say the current school layout is under increasing pressure

The report says under the changes classrooms will be reorganised to create room for smaller teaching groups and spaces where pupils can take a break. It says: "All classrooms on the site are of a standard size. These rooms are too big for students who will feel more comfortable learning in smaller groups of eight."

"Anxiety is often prominent for students with [social, emotional and mental health needs]. The re-organised spaces at Danesgate will help to minimise fears due to smaller spaces and class cohorts."

A structured school day will also be formally introduced. The work is set to cost around £1.9 million and be completed by September 2022.

The council has worked with staff from both schools on drawing up appropriate proposals.

The work would be funded from the special educational needs and/or disabilities facilities scheme, Department for Education money and basic need funding, which is given to councils to help them ensure there are enough school places.

Cllr Keith Orrell said: “We know that the number of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in York, including those with social, emotional and mental health needs, is continuing to increase.

"As a city committed to supporting all our residents, it’s important that we ensure that we are able to provide the right support to enable all our children and young people to fulfill their individual potential."