Agenda item - Special Educational Needs and Disability - Reorganisation of Special Schools and Pupil Referral Units

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Agenda item

Special Educational Needs and Disability - Reorganisation of Special Schools and Pupil Referral Units

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

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Committee –

 

1.    Confirmed the proposals contained in the statutory notices and agreed to:

 

(a)  Expand re-designate and extend the age range up to the age of 19 years of Hillside Community Special School.

 

(b)  Close Downs Park Community Special School

 

so as to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the west of the city with effect from September 2018.

 

2.    Confirmed the proposals contained in the statutory notices and agreed to:

 

(a)  Expand and re-designate Downs View Community Special School

 

(b)  Close the Cedar Centre Community Special School

 

so as to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the east of the city with effect from September 2018.

 

3.    Confirmed the proposals contained in the statutory notice and agreed to expand and extend the age range of Homewood College from 11-16 and 5-19 with effect from September 2018.

 

4.      Noted the outcome of the recent consultation, and approved the merger of the existing Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and the Connected Hub, and the arrangements to bring the merged PRU together with Homewood College to form the integrated hub for social, emotional and mental health with effect from September 2018.

Minutes:

26.1    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning regarding the reorganisation of the Special Schools and Pupil Referral Units in the city. The report was introduced by the Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities and the SEND Review Project Officer.

 

26.2    Ms A Mortensen referred to the provision of home to school transport and suggested that it be considered by the Committee, as currently there was no requirement for the Council to provide transport for those over 16 years of age. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities advised that the issue was being reviewed and further information would be provided in due course.

 

26.3    Councillor Brown said that the Conservatives supported the changes, but were concerned with the proposal to expand the age range of Homewood College from 11-16 to 5-19, which would have children as young as five on the same site as nineteen year olds, and would therefore abstain from voting on Recommendation 2.3. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities said that whilst having a child as young as five at Homewood College would be exceptional, it would give the Council an option if a placement were needed in the future.

 

26.4    Councillor Phillips noted Ms Mortensen’s comments on transport and said that she also had concerns on provision. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities said that the issue would be carefully considered and all options reviewed.

 

26.5    Councillor Phillips asked if children would be expected to move to the school closest to their home address, and was advised that there was no intention to disrupt any pupil.

 

26.6    Councillor Phillips noted that an outside consultant had been employed, and asked what the budget implications of that would be. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities said that the Department for Education would fund the post for one year, so there would be no impact on the Local Authority budget.

 

26.7    Councillor O’Quinn asked about the role of School Governors for the merged PRU and Homewood College. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities said that there would need to be one management committee which would link with the governors at Homewood College to work with the integrated hub, but the governance arrangements were still being considered.

 

26.8    Councillor Wealls did not feel that all the concerns highlighted in the consultation had been fully addressed in the report, and that members did not have all the information needed to make decisions particularly on the practical side of the reorganisation. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities said the report being considered was in response to the Statutory Notices, and once the agreement to make the changes had been made the practical side could be considered. If members wanted another paper it could be considered by the cross party working group. Councillor Wealls suggested that the Committee could vote on principles, but would not have control on how the actual reorganisation would work. The Executive Director, Children Families & Learning said that the reorganisation had been a long process, and it would soon be in the hands of the Governing Bodies to look more at the practical side of running the schools. The Executive Director suggested that it may be helpful for the Committee if an update report came to the committee in 6-9 months.

 

26.9    Mr M Jones referred to the Equalities Implications in the report and noted that a commitment had been given to retain the overall number of places, and suggested that there be provision to increase the numbers if required. The Assistant Director, Health, SEN and Disabilities confirmed that there was no intention to cap the number of places. 

 

26.10  RESOLVED: That the Committee –

 

1.    Confirmed the proposals contained in the statutory notices and agreed to:

 

(a)  Expand re-designate and extend the age range up to the age of 19 years of Hillside Community Special School.

 

(b)  Close Downs Park Community Special School

 

so as to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the west of the city with effect from September 2018.

 

2.    Confirmed the proposals contained in the statutory notices and agreed to:

 

(a)  Expand and re-designate Downs View Community Special School

 

(b)  Close the Cedar Centre Community Special School

 

so as to form the integrated hub for severe and complex learning difficulties in the east of the city with effect from September 2018.

 

3.    Confirmed the proposals contained in the statutory notice and agreed to expand and extend the age range of Homewood College from 11-16 and 5-19 with effect from September 2018.

 

4.      Noted the outcome of the recent consultation, and approved the merger of the existing Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and the Connected Hub, and the arrangements to bring the merged PRU together with Homewood College to form the integrated hub for social, emotional and mental health with effect from September 2018.

Supporting documents:

 


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