Consultation launched into special needs provision

Maidenbower Junior School
Maidenbower Junior School

A consultation has been launched into plans to change the special needs provision at Maidenbower Junior School.

As part of the implementation of the West Sussex Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy 2016-2019, the council carried out a review of the specialist provision available across the county.

A council spokesman said a number of imbalances were identified in either the kind of special support centres available at schools or the need for or take up of places.

The review highlighted the need for more places for children on the autistic spectrum.

As such, if the proposal for Maidenbower goes ahead, its special support centre will change from catering for children with additional learning needs to providing additional support for pupils with autistic spectrum conditions. As well as being more in line with what was needed, the spokesman said it would make the best use of the available funding.

Special support centres receive funding for a minimum of eight children but the spokesman said only three places were currently occupied at Maidenbower.

She added that, if the proposal was approved, plans would be drawn up to ensure all three youngsters continued to receive the help they needed.

The consultation opened on Monday (November 13) and will close on Sunday December 10. Now the council wants to hear from parents and residents.

Councillor Richard Burrett, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “I am really keen to hear people’s views on the proposal and this will help me come to a decision on the best way forward.

“My ultimate aim is to make sure that our pupils with special educational needs receive every opportunity to fulfil their potential and that their school setting is the best it possibly can be to enable them to thrive.”

Once the consultation is complete, Mr Burrett will decide whether or not to approve the proposal. A final decision is expected in January, with any changes made from September 2018.

To take part in the consultation, log on to haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk.