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Proposals to invest in the future for special needs pupils going to cabinet

May 15, 2019 5:59 PM

Apologies for the ambiguity in the headline, which is the product of WC's very expensive PR department. It's not the pupils who are going to cabinet but the proposals. The press release below is partly disingenuous, in that it talks of three-school solutions though still two of those schools are to close. The good news is that the new school won't be a nationalised academy. Under government rules new schools have to be nationalised: someone has realised that if you pretend not to close the existing schools you can get round that. The bad news though is that for all practical purposes special needs education based in Trowbridge and Chippenham will cease, and everyone will have to travel to Rowde. This is still a financial and educational cut by WC Conservatives.

Here's the hype:


"Proposals on how Wiltshire can provide additional special needs places and ensure a first-class education for all pupils will go to cabinet next week.

After additional weeks of pre-publication consultation and a rigorous assessment process, new proposals will be reviewed at the Wiltshire Council meeting on 22 May.

The proposals will include:

  • Establish a new maintained special school with a single leadership team for St Nicholas, Rowdeford and Larkrise by 1 September 2021
  • Expansion of the Rowdeford site as part of the new special school by September 2023
  • Approve closure of St Nicholas, Rowdeford and Larkrise School as separate schools by August 2021 - closure of buildings would happen at an appropriate time after September 2023.

If agreed, the decision will be to move to a one-school system by 2021, with an executive head overseeing the three schools at Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowdeford.

Under the proposals, the new school would remain under local authority control as a maintained school rather than an academy.

Cabinet will be reviewing a number of other options that have been put forward by respondents to the consultation. Cabinet will be looking at critical issues raised by consultees including quality, medical and health support, travel times, community support and engagement.

Terence Herbert, executive director for children and education, said: "We need to ensure we are providing our children and young people with special needs with the very best education in an environment where they can thrive.

"We know parents are passionate about their children's future and so are we. We are grateful to everyone who took part in this consultation and helped us to determine the way forward. Should these proposals be agreed we are committing major investment and we will want to work closely with all parents as we continue to provide a first-class education for all children into the future." "