Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
Story posted on
Parents of children with special needs have vowed to continue their fight against changes proposed by Wiltshire Council.
Wiltshire Council says it is planning to invest in special needs education to ‘increase school capacity’ and ‘continue to develop first class education for all’. And it has invited parents to one of three public meeting in September to explain the proposals.
The planned closures of St Nicholas School in Chippenham, Larkrise School in Trowbridge and Rowdeford near Devizes – replacing them with one new special school in Rowde – has been met with huge opposition from parents of children at the schools.
Concern was expressed about the long travelling distances and unfamiliarity and stress the changes would cause to the youngsters who have special needs. Parents and members of the ‘Keep special schools local’ campaign have said that they will continue to fight Wiltshire Council’s decision.
Now Wiltshire Council is planning to hold three September meetings at Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowdeford Schools to explain their proposals. This follows the Secretary of State for Education’s consent for Wiltshire Council’s to push ahead with its proposal to establish a new maintained special school to replace the three existing ones. The new places will be built at the Rowdeford school site, which is expected to open in September 2023.
Despite the ongoing protests, the Secretary of State for Education ruled that Wiltshire Council could go ahead with their plans.
Wiltshire Council say, “Meetings for staff, governors and parent carers of each existing school will be held at: Rowdeford School on 12th September; St Nicholas School on 18th September; and Larkrise School on 19th September. The meetings will be an opportunity to meet with Wiltshire Council officers and ask questions and learn more about the proposals to: • Bring Larkrise, St Nicholas and Rowdeford schools under one school leadership team by 2021; and • Create new school places for children and young people with complex needs on the Rowdeford site by 2023 with £32 million from Wiltshire Council.”
Pauline Church, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children said, “These meetings are an opportunity to talk through next steps as we all work together to invest in special school places for the future. We know parents want the best for their children, as do we, so we want to work with them as we take these plans forward.”
Wiltshire Council continued, “The meetings will take place at the same time as a statutory consultation on the proposals to establish a new maintained special school. The consultation will begin in September for four weeks. It will then go to council leaders at a Wiltshire Cabinet meeting before being presented to the schools’ adjudicator for a final decision.
“A single school will be established across all three sites by 2021 and following Wiltshire Council’s representation to government, this would be a maintained special school not an academy. The new places at Rowde would open in 2023. At a later date there will be consultation on options regarding bringing all pupils from the three sites onto the Rowdeford site.
“The focus on funding in the north is also part of Wiltshire Council’s wider plans to: • Increase investment in resource base places in local schools as part of a wider review • Develop Post 16+ provision on the new school site and across the county • Support greater outreach training and coordination • Develop access to health support in schools.
“The Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) is hosting a webinar on Thursday 19th July to help parent carers understand the timeline and what is likely to happen over the next few months and years. WPCC will be chatting with council officers about the plans and timeline from 12pm to 1pm.” More details on how to register for the webinar are available on the WPCC site at www.wiltshireparentcarercouncil.co.uk/en/Special_schools_-_Trowbridge_-_2019/07/18_-_1