A new facility for 32 children with special educational needs is opening in Bexley later this year to cope with the "unprecedented pressure" on school places.

Part of the Royal Park Primary School in Riverside Road, Sidcup, is being completely refurbished to provide four classrooms, a sensory room, soft play room, medical and therapy rooms, outside play space and shared use of a large hall. 

The works will provide a new resource for Shenstone School, a special school based in Crayford.

Reception children will be admitted from September and nursery classes will start in the new year.

Paul Jenkins, 32, of Ashcroft Crescent, Sidcup, has been fighting for a school place for his disabled daughter Lily Rose for a number of months.

News Shopper revealed in February how the family had been told there was no space for the three-year-old in Greenwich or Bexley.

Lily-Rose, who suffers from global developmental delay, has now been offered a place at the Shenstone facility based at Royal Park Primary School.

News Shopper: Paul Jenkins with wife Karen and Lily-Rose, two, and Billy, seven

Mr Jenkins said: "Although we have been fighting for a place for Lily-Rose to go to Willow Dene School in Greenwich she has been given a place at Shenstone.

"It is good news and it could work out well for a lot of children although I’m worried it won’t be ready by September.

"We regularly take her to clubs like Little Stars, which is based at Royal Park, and I haven’t seen any evidence of the refurbishment so far."

A Bexley Council report published in April, about the School Capital Programme, said: "Bexley continues to see an unprecedented pressure for school places.

"Capacity at secondary level means the council is currently able to meet its statutory duty but pressures remain intense for both primary and Special Educational Needs places."

A Bexley Council spokeswoman said:  "The development is a positive move for pupils, staff and parents from both schools who will benefit from new purpose built classrooms and the advantage of working in partnership with another school in the borough.

"The children at Royal Park Primary will not be affected in any way and a separate refurbishment project will over the next year provide additional teaching space and improved facilities for this school."