Issue - meetings

Update: Special School Provision in Wiltshire

Meeting: 07/11/2017 - Cabinet (Item 138)

138 Update: Special School Provision in Wiltshire

Report by Terence Herbert, Corporate Director

Supporting documents:


Councillor Laura Mayes presented the report which provided an update to Cabinet on the work being undertaken to review Wiltshire’s Special School



Matters highlighted in the course of the presentation and discussion included: that report is an update in advance of a more detailed report in March; that the project had started two years ago, with Cabinet Members having been briefed in the interim on issues including the Wood report; the reasons for the need to make changes including the need to make improvements to the environment and the need to provide 226 additional places by 2026; that some children have to be placed outside of Wiltshire; the need to make provision more geographically equitable; the formula used to calculate future need; the financial context, and the increasing demand for services; the need to find a sustainable solution for transport issues; the impact of the army basing programme; the statutory duties placed on authorities regarding the provision of special school places; how schools had been engaged with to develop alternative proposals; and the consultation period prior to any decision and implementation.


Jan Winfield, Governor Larkrise School, addressed the meeting raising concerns about the level of detail in the current report and whether the alternative proposals submitted by schools would be given due consideration.


In response to these concerns, Councillor Laura Mayes emphasises that the report was an update, summarising issues so far, and that all proposals would be considered in detail at a later date.


Stuart Hall, Wiltshire Parent & Carers Council, emphasised the need to complete the review as soon as reasonable possible to meet the needs of children by providing flexible provision in the right environment.


Councillor Graham Wright, on behalf of Councillor Jon Hubbard – Chairman of the Children’s Select Committee, outlined the process by which the proposals and process would be scrutinised and a report submitted to Cabinet.


In response to an issue raised Paul Cooke - Chair of Downlands School, Councillor Laura Mayes stated she would seek advice from officers regarding the issues raised in the letter from the commissioner for academy schools.


The Leader thanked those who had attended and contributed to the debate, and encouraged them to continue to engage positively with the review process.


At the conclusion of the debate, the meeting;




i)     To note the work to be undertaken to develop a clear and strategic direction for the provision of specialist SEN provision.


ii)   To agree to receive a full report on the outcomes of this work, and any resulting recommendations, at the meeting of cabinet on 27 March 2018.


iii)  That depending on the outcome of this work, this report will detail any further consultations that are necessary and outline how the local authority will discharge its duties in this regard.


Reason for Decision:


To update Cabinet on the work being undertaken to review special school provision in Wiltshire, in advance of a more detailed Cabinet paper in March 2018.