A LOCAL specialist school maintained by Blackburn with Darwen Council is celebrating after welcoming a new head teacher.

The multi-faith Newfield School provides high quality specialist education for children and young people aged 2 – 19.

New head-teacher, Rik Robinson, aged 41 from Blackpool, was appointed at the school at the start of the current term.

He brings with him a wealth of educational experience, both in mainstream and special educational needs schools.

His most recent role was as Deputy Head Teacher at Fairfield School in Kirklees.

Mr Robinson joins the school after it recently opened up a specialist building for children with autism.

The multi-million pound state-of-the-art facility was opened to mark World Autism Awareness Day last October.

He said: "I am delighted and honoured to have started the new term as the new head teacher at Newfield School.

"My philosophy for education is one which is based around a strong child-centred approach. I believe that all children are amazing and have unique potential waiting to be unlocked.

"It is a privilege, as a teacher and a leader, to be able to inspire, enthuse, motivate and nurture children to fully achieve this."

Cllr Maureen Bateson, executive member for children’s, young people and education, added: "I’m sure Rik will build on the fantastic work already being done at the school. Newfield is an outstanding provision for children with autism and deserves someone with such a rich background in education and special educational needs.”

The new school has been specially designed to meet the needs of children with autism and features a specialist sensory space, multi-use areas, hall and kitchen facilities.

Demand for specialist educational support for children on the ASD spectrum had increased since 2000 due to improvements in diagnosis of the condition.

The unit tackles a shortfall in the council’s provision for children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

The multi-million-pound autism centre with space for 60 children and 40 staff was approved by Blackburn with Darwen Council in July 2016.

The 10-classroom building, which was originally estimated to cost £4.3million, is run by staff at Newfield Specialist School and has been built on the former Crosshill School site opposite Shadsworth Leisure Centre in Old Bank Lane.