Signposting - Schools & learning - Vision for Special Schools in Wiltshire

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Section: Signposting

Subsection: Signposting - Schools & learning

Vision for Special Schools in Wiltshire

Articles

WPCC Statement to Wiltshire Council Cabinet Meeting - 27/11/18
Wiltshire Special School Proposals - Q&As

Here you will find the latest updates about Wiltshire Council's proposals for Special Education provision in Wiltshire.

Special Schools Update - 19th March 2019

On Friday 15th March 2019, the Friends of Larkrise School and St Nicholas School learnt that they have been awarded permission for a judicial review regarding the consultation process for future SEND provision in Wiltshire. We understand from the Friends of Larkrise School and St Nicholas School that the hearing is likely to take place on 10th or 11th April 2019.

The WPCC has received the following statement from Wiltshire Council: "The claimants have obtained leave to take some parts of their case forward to a substantive hearing. We will await the outcome of this before commenting further. We remain committed to providing all our pupils with the best SEN education into the future."

In light of the ongoing legal case, we have been advised by Wiltshire Council that Cabinet has decided to withdraw any papers relating to the special school proposal when it next meets on 26th March 2019. The WPCC has been advised by Wiltshire Council that we, and other interested parties, will be informed about the next stages following the legal process.

Remaining Special Schools Consultation Surgeries - New date added!

Update 15th February 2019

Wiltshire Council has organised an additional opportunity to enable parent carers to have a say about the Special School proposals in Melksham on Monday 25th February 2019. This council run session is in addition to the sessions organised at St. Nicholas, Larkrise and Rowdeford special schools.

This session will run from 11am to 1pm, and will take place in the Committee Room at Melksham Town Hall, Market Place, Melksham, SN12 6ES. Limited parking is available to the rear of the town hall; additional parking is available in nearby car parks in Church Street and Kings Street.

Due to the capacity of the venue, 20 places are available. To book your place, please email: specialschools@wiltshire.gov.uk.

We hope this session, as well as the remaining WPCC session at Beversbrook Sports' Centre, Calne on 28th February 2019 provides opportunities for parent carers not affiliated to special schools to have their say about the proposals and focus on ideas for development.

Remaining Council-run sessions for Parent Carers are as follows:-

Melksham info.JPG


The WPCC has organised additional surgeries for parent carers and there is now one remaining as follows:-

WPCC last consultation.JPG

Booking for WPCC's Special School Consultation Surgery at Beversbrook Sports' Centre, Calne on 28th February 2019 at 12pm will close at 5pm on 24th February 2019. To book to attend, please click [HERE].

Please don't forget you can also have your say on the proposals by sending them to: Special Schools Project, Education Directorate, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN by 5pm on the 1st of March 2019 or by emailing: SpecialSchools@wiltshire.gov.uk. You can also complete Wiltshire Council's [online consultation].

Remaining Special Schools Consultation Surgeries

Update: 4th February 2019

Remaining face-to-face consultation surgeries
There are surgeries being arranged by Wiltshire Council at the three schools (see table below) specifically for parent/carers of their pupils and letters for these will be sent via the schools directly to parent/carers. Please contact Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowdeford schools to book onto these sessions as the WPCC is not handling the bookings for the consultation surgeries being held at the schools. If the times of these sessions are not convenient to you, please remember that you are welcome to attend a session organised by the WPCC.

The remaining sessions at Special Schools for Parent Carers are as follows:-
SS last session.JPG

The WPCC is organising additional surgeries for parent carers. We hope these additional sessions will give an opportunity for parent carers of children who are perhaps:-

  • home educated,
  • too young to attend school,
  • do not attend St. Nicholas, Larkrise or Rowdeford schools,
  • attend a mainstream school or resource base
  • attend a school outside of Wiltshire

to contribute to the discussion on the proposals.

WPCC's remaining session for parent carers is as follows:-
WPCC last consultation.JPG

Each surgery session whether at a special school or WPCC additional surgery will follow the same format; we therefore ask that parents attend only one session (and preferably at the school their child attends if they attend Rowdeford, St. Nicholas or Larkrise) to give as many parents as wish to, the opportunity to participate in a surgery session.

BOOKING FOR WPCC-FACILITATED SESSIONS IS NOW OPEN!

To book a place at the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council consultation surgery in Calne, please [click here]
.
PLEASE NOTE: These sessions are for PARENT CARERS of children/ young people aged 0-25 years with special educational needs and/ or disabilities ONLY

Proposal for N.Wilts Special Schools – Statutory Notice/ Consultation

On 9th January 2019 Wiltshire Council published a statutory notice in respect of the closure of St Nicholas School in Chippenham, Rowdeford School in Rowde, and Larkrise School in Trowbridge, along with the pre-statutory notice regarding the opening of a new special school.

The document also includes the detailed proposals with information such as:-
• Reasons for closure • Pupil numbers and admissions • Provision • Curriculum • Travel • Location • Costs, etc.

From page 9 of the document you can find out about the consultation process, timeline and the ways in which you can contribute your views on the proposals. Click on the following link to view the Statutory Notice/ Consultation Documents


Comments on, or objections to, the proposals
Any person or organisation may object to, support or comment on the above related proposals by sending them to:-

Special Schools Project, Education Directorate, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN

by 5pm on the 1st of March 2019 or by emailing SpecialSchools@wiltshire.gov.uk

This email will only be used to collect objections and comments and send out paper copies. There is also a short consultation reply form on the Wiltshire Council website along with supporting documents and a series of videos available where Stuart Hall from Wiltshire Parent Carer Council was able to have a conversation with Councillor Laura Mayes about the proposals – [click here].


Face-to-face consultation surgeries
There are surgeries being arranged by Wiltshire Council at the three schools (see table below) specifically for parent/carers of their pupils and letters for these will be sent via the schools directly to parent/carers. Please contact Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowdeford schools to book onto these sessions as the WPCC is not handling the bookings for the consultation surgeries being held at the schools. If the times of these sessions are not convenient to you, please remember that you are welcome to attend a session organised by the WPCC.

Sessions at Special Schools for Parent Carers are as follows:-
SS table 1.JPG

The WPCC is organising additional surgeries for parent carers. We hope these additional sessions will give an opportunity for parent carers of children who are perhaps:-

  • home educated,
  • too young to attend school,
  • do not attend St. Nicholas, Larkrise or Rowdeford schools,
  • attend a mainstream school or resource base
  • attend a school outside of Wiltshire

to contribute to the discussion on the proposals.

WPCC sessions for parent carers are as follows:-
SS table 2.JPG

Each surgery session whether at a special school or WPCC additional surgery will follow the same format; we therefore ask that parents attend only one session (and preferably at the school their child attends if they attend Rowdeford, St. Nicholas or Larkrise) to give as many parents as wish to, the opportunity to participate in a surgery session.

BOOKING FOR WPCC-FACILITATED SESSIONS IS NOW OPEN!

To book a place at one of the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council consultation surgeries in Salisbury, Corsham and Calne, please [click here]
.
PLEASE NOTE: These sessions are for PARENT CARERS of children/ young people aged 0-25 years with special educational needs and/ or disabilities ONLY

Special Schools Consultation

Following Wiltshire Council's Cabinet meeting on 27th November 2018 when Cabinet members agreed the proposals and for a statutory consultation on the creation of the new school, we are now able to advise that the consultation period will open on 9th January 2019.

Further details and invitations will be sent out by the Local Authority, special schools and the WPCC in the New Year. All interested parties will be able to contribute to the consultation and will be able to choose to do so via:-

  • a dedicated email address,
  • attend surgery consultations at St. Nicholas School, Larkrise School or Rowdeford School (see table below for more information)
  • attend a surgery consultation session facilitated by the WPCC in Salisbury, Corsham or Calne (see table below for more information)


Ss consultations.JPG


Special Schools Update - 30th November 2018

Wiltshire Council Cabinet met on Tuesday 27th November to discuss the proposal for special school provision in Wiltshire. The agenda item to consider the proposal concluded with Wiltshire Council's cabinet backing a £20m investment to create a new centre of excellence for pupils with special needs in the county. The new school will be developed at Rowdeford near Devizes to match the facilities at Exeter House, Salisbury.

Cabinet members agreed the proposals and for a statutory consultation on the creation of the new school. The final decision will be made at cabinet in March 2019.

The recording of the Cabinet meeting, along with minutes and questions received can be found on the [Wiltshire Council website] (item 300).

Please also see the Q&A document we are maintaining on our website that responds to questions being raised by parent carers: [Q&A].

Special Schools Update - 22nd November 2018

As a result of consultation (a pre-statutory consultation was approved by Cabinet and ended on 31st July 2018, this included an online consultation) on the options to expand capacity in special schools for pupils with complex needs presented to Cabinet in May 2018, a report setting out proposals to invest £20million in state of the provision will be presented to Wiltshire Council Cabinet on Tuesday 27th November 2018.

In considering contributions from all stakeholders (including parent carers, children and young people), the proposal will be to recommend an option to provide a special purpose built school with well-equipped small classes on a spacious site, with separate post 16 provision and a commitment to develop centres of excellence for children and young people with SEND across the county. The recommendation is that once the new school opens in approximately 5 years’ time, the existing three special schools in Chippenham, Trowbridge and Rowde will be replaced by the new school. Additional to this provision, it is also proposed to work in partnership with Somerset Road Education Trust to develop the provision at Exeter House School, Salisbury to become a centre of excellence for the south of the county.

The proposal will address the need for an additional 220 SEND places for Wiltshire while providing a number of features including:-

  • Specialist integrated facilities, therapies and support which stakeholders voiced during consultation and engagement as particularly important, such as hydrotherapy pools, sensory rooms, physio, open outdoor space, speech and language therapy and family care
  • Closer links between SEND schools and neighbouring mainstream schools
  • Links with specialist nurseries offering children with special needs a seamless experience from very small to teenage years


This aspiration is not dissimilar to the approach taken in BaNES some years ago which resulted in the amalgamation of three smaller special schools (Royal United Hospital School, Summerfield School, and Lime Grove School) and the building of Three Ways School. Three Ways School is judged an Outstanding school by OfSTED and is popular with many Wiltshire families.

The report acknowledges responses to consultation and engagement which includes messages about the importance of quality of staff, supporting young people to develop skills for adult life, the importance of design so that spaces and a school don't feel too big, Rowde was the preferred location for siting a new school, the need for a wide range of facilities, and the importance of travel. The WPCC recognises that parents have said that they would like to be involved in the design and planning of any new building, and we have expressed this.

Later in the report, there is an explanation of the different options that have been explored including the consideration of different sites within the county, and particular mention has been made to the Ashton Street site which the report says was given particular support from parent carers and governors of Larkrise School (Appendices 5 and 6 of the report explain the considerations of the different sites explored.

The WPCC recognises that this is significant investment that is much needed to meet the ever increasing demands on special school provision in Wiltshire and the proposal seeks to address the contributions from stakeholders such as aspiring to provide integrated therapies within a purpose built environment, create centres of excellence to support neighbouring mainstream schools, develop facilities such as a café and gardens to integrate the community into the school and provide young people with an increased range of transferable skills, and increase capacity so that fewer children have to travel to schools in other authorities or be home educated if that is not their preference.

However, the WPCC also recognises that in aspiring to provide pupils with SEND with the best facilities, the best teaching and the best learning environment where they can thrive, the proposal, will create anxiety for some families and we don’t in any way want to underestimate this. The WPCC will continue to provide as much information as possible to keep parent carers informed and we are assured by Wiltshire Council, that whatever the Cabinet decision is, there will be many further opportunities to continue to be involved in conversation. Please also see the Q&A document we are maintaining on our website that responds to questions being raised by parent carers: [Q&A].

You can find more information about the Cabinet meeting and read the full proposal paper [HERE].

Special Schools Update - 12th November 2018

Please see the following information about Wiltshire Council's proposals for Special Education provision in Wiltshire, which has just been released (12/11/2018).

After three years of consultation with families, schools and communities, Wiltshire Council is proposing a vision of two schools which will be centres of excellence for children and young people with SEND in Wiltshire, at Rowdeford near Devizes and Exeter House Salisbury.

As a result of significant investment plans, the vision would result in purpose-built and amply equipped schools to address the need for an additional 220 SEND places for Wiltshire while providing a number of features including:-

  • Hydro-pools, sensory rooms, physio, open outdoor space, speech and language therapy and family care
  • Strong community links with cafés, community gardens and public playing fields
  • Closer links between SEND schools and neighbouring mainstream schools
  • Links with specialist nurseries offering children with special needs seamless attention from very small to teenage years


Within these proposals St Nicholas school in Chippenham and Larkrise school in Trowbridge will stay open until the new school opens, which is likely to be in about 5 years' time (expected in September 2023).

The proposals will be taken to Cabinet on Tuesday 27th November 2018, before further consultation with parents, families and schools.

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children's services, said that the vision has been informed by everyone who has contributed to the consultations so far. Laura Mayes expressed that: "We have put our pupils at the heart of our proposals on how we provide SEND education in Wiltshire. This vision means we concentrate on providing our pupils with the best facilities, the best teaching and the best learning environment where they can thrive". Laura Mayes also says that: "We know that this will mean change for children and young people, but the new schools and resources will offer high quality provision, building on the excellent community support and engagement in Rowde and Salisbury. This new vision is about providing a better education and experience for all children and young people with SEND."

If the proposals are agreed at cabinet on 27th November 2018, statutory notices will be published for formal consultation on the proposals to take place.

For further information, please see the full statement on Wiltshire Council's website: [Proposals for vision for special education in Wiltshire outlined]. You can also read more in the Wiltshire Council Vision Statement.

As always, we will keep you informed of further information as it becomes available.