Agenda item - Special School & PRU Reorganisation

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Agenda item

Special School & PRU Reorganisation

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

Decision:

1)            That the outcome of the formal consultation on the proposals to:

 

                     i.        expand, re-designate and extend the age range up to the age of 19 years of Hillside Community Special School

 

                    ii.        close Downs Park Community Special School

 

to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the west of the city be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal

 

2)            That the outcome of the formal consultation on the proposals to:

 

                 i.             expand and re-designate Downs View Community Special School

 

            ii          close the Cedar Centre Community Special School

 

to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the east of the city be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal.

 

3)           That the outcome of the consultation on the proposal to expand pupil numbers and site of Homewood College and to extend the age range of pupils from 11-16 to 5-19 be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal.

 

4)            That the outcome of the consultation on the creation of an integrated hub for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs, formed by merging the two Pupil Referral Units and bringing them together with Homewood College be noted.

 

5)            To note the update on other areas of the review.

Minutes:

9.1         The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning that provided feedback on the formal consultation on the proposal to redesign special school and Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) provision. The report also provided an update on other areas of the review, including the merger of two PRU’s and the development of the new early years provision for children with very complex special educational needs within a mainstream nursery to release the current bases.

 

9.2         Councillor Wealls thanked the officers involved for the tremendous amount of work they had undertaken to reach this stage. Councillor Wealls asked if the small specialist unit detailed in paragraph 5.7 would be for children with high functioning autism, any response to the issues raised by PAC and in addition, further information on extending the age ranges.

 

9.3         The Assistant Director- Health SEN & Disabilities stated that in relation to extending the age range, it was felt important to make a vocational offer available for those people not in the workforce with emotional health needs. Furthermore, the Council were addressing the concerns raised by PAC and were considering a unit within the hub as a possibility although no decision had been reached.

 

9.4         Councillor Phillips thanked officers for a very thorough piece of work. Councillor Phillips asked how the mix of age ranges in groups would be comprised, if the issue of transportation was a concern and the any likely impact on staff and the possibility of a broader Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA).

 

9.5         The Assistant Director- Health SEN & Disabilities replied that the changes to age range were relatively minor, would provide more flexibility and there would be a distinct separation in ages in relation to individual groups. Transportation was an issue and the council currently had a very high budget spend in the area that required attention. The hubs were in a broadly similar geographical location and further discussions would take place on whether the hubs wished to operate some form of transport themselves. The Assistant Director- Health SEN & Disabilities added that there was no intention to reduce staff from frontline services with savings predominately focussed on the reduction of management structure.

 

9.6         Councillor Brown thanked officers for their work on the report and for managing the complex issue slowly and sensitively. Councillor Brown stated that the day provision would be to everyone’s advantage, welcomed the £7.5 million capital funding to make the improvements necessary and the £300,000 health support. Councillor Brown surmised that the proposals would enhance the education provision for young people in the city.

 

9.7         Anne Mortenson congratulated officers for conducting a very good consultation and excellent communication with parents on the issue. Anne Mortenson noted her concern that there had been a significant rise in exclusions and asked what mitigating action was being undertaken.

 

9.8         The Assistant Director- Health SEN & Disabilities agreed with the concern raised in the number of exclusion. This was predominately in secondary schools and related to substance misuse and a series of measures were being undertaken to reduce both levels of exclusion and substance misuse.

 

9.9         Councillor O’Quinn congratulated officers on their attention on a complex matter and a comprehensive piece of work. Councillor O’Quinn stated that the Connected Hub welcomed the 16-19 year old extension and she was looking forward to seeing positive results.

 

9.10      RESOLVED-

 

1)            That the outcome of the formal consultation on the proposals to:

 

                     i.        expand, re-designate and extend the age range up to the age of 19 years of Hillside Community Special School

 

                    ii.        close Downs Park Community Special School

 

to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the west of the city be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal

 

2)            That the outcome of the formal consultation on the proposals to:

 

                    i.          expand and re-designate Downs View Community Special School

 

              ii        close the Cedar Centre Community Special School

 

to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the east of the city be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal.

 

3)           That the outcome of the consultation on the proposal to expand pupil numbers and site of Homewood College and to extend the age range of pupils from 11-16 to 5-19 be noted and agreement be given to the publication of statutory notices to progress this proposal.

 

4)            That the outcome of the consultation on the creation of an integrated hub for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs, formed by merging the two Pupil Referral Units and bringing them together with Homewood College be noted.

 

5)            To note the update on other areas of the review.

Supporting documents:

 


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