Issue - meetings

Special School Provision in Wiltshire

Meeting: 15/05/2018 - Cabinet (Item 232)

232 Special School Provision in Wiltshire

 Report by Terrence Herbert, Corporate Director

Supporting documents:


Councillor Laura Mayes presented the report which: provided an update on the work done, and being undertaken to secure the future of special school provision in Wiltshire; sought to confirm the next steps in relation to setting out parameters for development, securing capital funding and progressing change; and sought to confirm authority for preliminary consultation on the future pattern of Wiltshire special schools in the context of its 2015-18 Special Educational Needs (SEN/SEND) Strategy.


In making her presentation, Councillor Mayes emphasised that no decision had yet been made regarding a preferred options or options, and that the results of the consultation would be reported to Cabinet in September.


At the invitation of the Leader, Councillor Jon Hubbard, in his capacity as Chair of the Children’s Select Committee presented the interim report of the task group. He outlined the extensive work undertaken the group, drawing particular attention to recommendation one and the need for a strategy for SEND across the whole county. He also thanked officer, stakeholders and councillors for their contribution and engagement in the review, and specifically praised the contribution from the two co-opted members John Hawkins and Jen Jones.


Further matters highlighted in the course of the presentation and debate included: the progress made in the review since the meeting in November; the vision in Wiltshire for Special Education and the focus on providing the most equitable and best outcome; the additional places required to meet demand; the imbalance between the north and the south of the county; the decisions already made to amend provision and the further options to require continued consultation; the good engagement from schools and parents in the review.


Representations were received from the following members of the public.


Stuart Hall, from the Wiltshire Parent Carers Council, stated that: thanked the council for their commitment and for the work undertaken to address the shortage; recognised that feedback from parents had been taken into account and welcomed the collaborative approach being developed; expressed  concern over the lack of places for those with needs; stated that specialist provision, within a mainstream setting, is sometimes preferred so that children stay closer to their families and communities; expressed the desire to see more integrated therapies; that investment in the right staff and equipment was important; the desire to involve families in the design of new facilities; expressed disappointed that progress has not been as swift as desired, but welcomed the opportunity to meet the aspirations for the education.


Mike Loveridge, Headteacher Rowdeford Schoo, stated that: he was pleased with the progress that has been made and encouraged by many of the proposals; that some recommendations would enable special schools to share best practice with mainstream schools; expressed concern that Rowdeford had been marginalised in the proposed solutions; emphasised the work undertaken to extend the provision and develop its approach for providing an enhanced environment; the importance of good environments on mental health; and emphasised that barriers for development could be overcome.


Phil Cook, Headteacher Larkrise School  ...  view the full minutes text for item 232