Agenda item - Special School and Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) Reorgaisation Proposals

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Agenda item

Special School and Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) Reorgaisation Proposals

Report of the Executive Director Families, Children & Learning (copy attached).

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Children, Young People and Skills Committee should confirm the proposal contained in the statutory notices and make a final decision to:

(a) Extend the age range of Hillside School from the existing 4-16 years to 2-16 years with effect from September 2017

(b)Extend the age range of Downs View School from the existing 3-19 years to 2-19 years, with effect from September 2017

 

(2)  That the outcome of the formal consultation on the proposal to close Patcham House School should be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal.

 

(3)  Formal Consultation Integrated Hubs East & West

That the Local Authority should agree to proceed to formal consultation on the proposal to:

(a)  Expand, re-designate and extend the age range up to the age of 18 years for Hillside Community Special School and to close Downs Park Community Special School to form the integrated hub for learning difficulties in the west of the city

(b)  Expand and re-designate Downs View Community Special School and close the Cedar Centre Community Special School to form the integrated hub for learning difficulties in the east of the city

 

(4) Integrated Hub for Social Emotional Mental Health needs

To agree that the Local Authority should:

(a)  Consult on the creation of an integrated hub for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs by merging the two Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and bringing them together with Homewood College under the oversight of an executive head teacher.

(b) Begin a formal consultation on the expansion of pupil numbers and site of Homewood College and extension of the age range of pupils from 11-16 years to 5-18 years.

 

 

Minutes:

75.1    The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director Families, Children & Learning regarding the Special School and Pupil Referral Unit reorganisation proposals. The report was introduced by the Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities.

 

75.2    Councillor Phillips asked if the proposals were agreed whether Homewood College would be able to recruit a permanent Head Teacher. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that it would, but the position could not be advertised until after the end of the consultation period. Councillor Phillips said that whilst she understood the rationale for the proposals, she was concerned that if Patcham House was closed that there could be loss of expertise. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that no one wanted to loose experienced staff, and to address that the other schools had agreed to give priority to any staff from Patcham House if they had any vacancies.

 

75.3    Councillor Brown noted that although the new Special Facility was due to be opened in 2018, the location for it wasn’t yet known, nor was it known where the provision for very young children based at the Jeanne Saunders Centre will be located. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that there were still a few issues around the site of the nursery school, but hoped the location should be announced the beginning of May 2017. A commitment had been given to the schools that had shown an interest, that the location would be confirmed by the summer term 2017 in order to allow a year to get the facility ready before it was due to open.

 

75.4    Councillor Brown asked whether the Swan Centre at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and the Phoenix Centre at Hove Park were full, and whether the Autistic Spectrum School at West Blatchington would remain at that site. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that both the Swan Centre and Phoenix Centre were popular and were full. There were currently 18 at the Swan Centre, rising to 10 next year, 13 at the Phoenix Centre and 14 at West Blatchington. With regard to the Autistic Spectrum Centre at West Blatchington, there were no plans to move it although currently the pupils were on roll on West Blatchington School but the facility was managed by Downs Park School, so that may be reviewed in due course.

 

75.5    Councillor O’Quinn said that she supported the intention that all three hubs also developed post 16 provision, and asked if the Committee could be advised on what it was hoped could be provided. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that the level of those who were classed as NEET (not in education, employment or training), was higher than the national average. To address that the Authority were looking at ways to ensure the Hubs were able support the young people. The schools were good at getting college placements for their students, but they then needed support during their courses.

 

75.6    Councillor Russell-Moyle suggested it would be useful, before the consultation on the closure of Patcham House begun to identify where the new special facility would be.  The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that they hoped to announce the new special facility quite soon, but said that most pupils at Patcham House were in Years 10 and Year 11 and so wouldn’t need an alternative school.

 

75.7    Councillor Miller said that there would be children attending the new schools who had a range of needs, some physical and some behavioural and who would need different support. He suggested that parents may be concerned that they were sending their child to a school which historically had supported children with different needs to their own. Councillor Miller referred to the funding and asked if there would be a capital allocation for the new facility at the existing school. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said they had worked hard with families involved in the system, and consulted with them on all steps being taken and considered. The Authority were recommending a consultation, and when that started officers would sit down with all parents and staff of every school and explain what was being suggested and reassure them that the wellbeing and education of the young people would not be disrupted in any way. Capital funding had been put aside, and that might be increased if some of the sites were disposed of.

 

75.8    Mr Jones noted the proposal to provide a range of extended day opportunities and asked if any of those provisions would be free. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that there was a range of extended provision such as respite care, and that was free if you were an eligible student i.e. if it had been determined that was needed. It was also the intention to offer an extended day to other families and there would be a cost, but it was hoped to keep that to an affordable price. Mr Jones said that it was good that the West Hub would have post 16 provision, and asked for assurance that officers would still be liaising with colleges to ensure they also provided opportunities for those over 16 years of age. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that the Authority would continue to work in partnership with the colleges.  Mr Jones noted that some children found it difficult to learn in large classes and that could impact on their attainment and asked if that had been taken into account. The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that they had and had created a special facility within the SEMH Hub to accommodate the needs of those students.

 

75.9    Josh Cliff asked what SEN provision was available at the Phoenix Centre.  The Assistant Director, Health SEN and Disabilities said that it offered a place within the school for children who had EHCPs where they could go for specialist support.

 

 

 

75.10 RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Children, Young People and Skills Committee should confirm the proposal contained in the statutory notices and make a final decision to:

(a) Extend the age range of Hillside School from the existing 4-16 years to 2-16 years with effect from September 2017

(b)Extend the age range of Downs View School from the existing 3-19 years to 2-19 years, with effect from September 2017

 

(2)  That the outcome of the formal consultation on the proposal to close Patcham House School should be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal.

 

(3)  Formal Consultation Integrated Hubs East & West

That the Local Authority should agree to proceed to formal consultation on the proposal to:

(a)  Expand, re-designate and extend the age range up to the age of 18 years for Hillside Community Special School and to close Downs Park Community Special School to form the integrated hub for learning difficulties in the west of the city

(b)  Expand and re-designate Downs View Community Special School and close the Cedar Centre Community Special School to form the integrated hub for learning difficulties in the east of the city

 

(4) Integrated Hub for Social Emotional Mental Health needs

To agree that the Local Authority should:

(a)  Consult on the creation of an integrated hub for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs by merging the two Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and bringing them together with Homewood College under the oversight of an executive head teacher.

(b) Begin a formal consultation on the expansion of pupil numbers and site of Homewood College and extension of the age range of pupils from 11-16 years to 5-18 years.

 

 

Supporting documents:

 


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