PA23/08629: A new alternative provision school provider could be coming to Bodmin. 

Poles APart AP (Alternative Provision) is seeking to create a new mini-school in the town, to cater for up to 15 students of a primary or secondary school age who have become disengaged and are experiencing mainstream or special education as challenging and detrimental to their health and wellbeing. 

They have submitted a planning application to Cornwall Council for the change of use of a former bank building which in recent years has been used as office. 

The application, concerning the former TSB bank building at 9 Mount Folly, would see the permitted use of the building change from an office (class E) to an educational facility (use class F1). 

In the documents submitted as part of the change of use application, Poles Apart say that the building would have up to six staff members who would provide tuition to the students within the building if the change of use application was approved. 

The applicants told Cornwall Council: “In facilitating the educational use, the existing two-storey building would be utilised with the current layout maintained and the existing spaces simply fitted out to create classrooms. All other rooms, including toilets and storage would remain in their current arrangement. 

“The site’s operational hours would be from 8am until 4pm, with classes held between 9.30am and 2.30pm. There would be a maximum of six members of staff at the site at any time, catering for no more than 15 pupils. 

“No external amenity area is required as the classes run the entire period and are intended to be conducted within the building, although some rear external space is available for use. 

“The applicant intends to provide a much-needed intervention service within the town and wider district. At present, Poles Apart AP is solely based in Plymouth and Exeter, making it difficult for young people to access who are further located within Cornwall. The change of use would create an additional and more local base for those in need of the service.” It would be the first entry into Cornwall for the alternative education provider, which describes itself as thus: “Poles Apart AP is an alternative provision with a difference and we are proud to be working with young people across Devon and Cornwall. 

“During the global pandemic, a small group of motivated individuals realised that a new approach was needed to help young people reach their full potential. We work with young people from year 1 to year 13. 

“Reintegration is a big part of what we do and our reintegration worker has had some great success in working with students and schools, assisting both parties to achieve the best outcomes.

“Poles Apart AP delivers a range of engaging, modern programmes and sessions. We provide core subjects, outdoor learning (including forest school), history, geography, catering, beauty, construction, art, and music, and we can adapt to facilitate most people’s dreams and needs. 

“We also provide therapy, and we encourage work placements and reintegration. With bases in Plymouth, Exeter and Tiverton, we have access to a broad range of outdoor environments. 

“Learning opportunities are abundant and being active and outdoors is a major part of what we do. We also offer a range of indoor options, and we guarantee that we will find subjects or activities that inspire.

“Our staff are selected for their specialist skills and their ability to inspire and engage with a range of young people.

“We group our students according to several factors and each student will have their own goals and bespoke timetables.

“Our flexible but focused approach to teaching and learning helps our young people to engage, develop strategies and explore long-term goals.We focus on life skills and career pathways during Key Stage 4 and support the interests and goals of our young people. We are already seeing our young people flourish within their post-16 placements.”