Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)

Proposed changes to special schools

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Notice of consultation

Parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) and a range of other key groups have been consulted on proposed changes to increase the capacity of the borough’s special schools as part of a borough wide review.

The review has considered the need to ensure all schools in Walsall work to inclusive principles so that there is an effective range of provision for all children including those with special educational needs. An Inclusion Strategy will develop this work across schools.

Walsall Council’s Cabinet agreed proposals to proceed with formal consultation with relevant stakeholders on proposals to increase the capacity of Walsall’s special schools.

Parents and other stakeholders have already been involved in a range of consultation with views  incorporated into the current proposals.

As part of the proposals, Oakwood and Old Hall Primary schools would between them increase their capacity by 10 places (130 places in total); Mary Elliot would increase their capacity by 20 places (130 places).

Phoenix Primary and Elmwood School would become one school with separate primary, secondary and sixth form departments. There would be 40 places (an increase of 10 places) in the primary department, 56 places in the secondary department with a sixth form to be developed.

Castle Business and Enterprise College and The Jane Lane College of Cognition and Learning would between them increase their capacity by 50 places (270 places in total) with the re-introduction of Key Stage 1 provision.

There is also a commitment to further expand the Shepwell Centre to accommodate a further 20 secondary pupils.

Where there is building work required, funding for this will come from capital agreed at the schools forum.

The extra school places will be funded through the high needs block of the dedicated schools grant.

If approved, the work would begin from September 2015.

The consultation period will run from Monday 23rd February 2015 to Friday 20th March 2015, lasting four weeks.

All schools must clearly display at every entrance to the school a copy of the statutory proposal so all stakeholders. The local authority has provided every school with two copies of the proposals and an electronic version to be displayed on each school’s website.

Councillor Barbara Cassidy, portfolio holder for children’s services at Walsall Council, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the families who have shared their views with us so far on behalf of the children of Walsall during the informal consultation events across the borough.

“We have been pleased to hear from so many passionate and committed parents and professionals working with children with SEN.

“The council is committed to ensuring that all children in Walsall receive the very best education possible and we welcome further feedback from everyone involved on how we can ensure our special schools help us to make this happen.

“A review of our SEN provision is long overdue and I would encourage students, parents, staff and anyone else with an interest to share their views with us, we look forward to hearing from you.”

If you would like a copy of the full proposals or if you wish to submit any comments either in support of, or objecting to, the proposal please send them to:

Carol Douthwaite – Administration Manager – SEN Team
Walsall Children’s Services
Educational Development Centre
Pelsall Lane