Proposal to establish a special educational needs facility at Grovelands Community Primary School

Closed 14 Sep 2018

Opened 6 Jul 2018


What is the proposal?

East Sussex County Council is proposing to establish a special educational needs facility at Grovelands Community Primary School from 1 January 2019.  The facility would accommodate up to 8 pupils with a primary need of Autism.

Why do we need to establish a SEN facility at Grovelands Community Primary School?

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) recently undertook a review of special education needs (SEN) provision in the county.  One of the identified strands of the review was specialist facilities in mainstream schools.  The aim of this strand was to review the current provision of specialist facilities and determine whether it is meeting the needs of SEN pupils across East Sussex. The review also sought to identify any gaps in provision.

The review concluded that there is a gap in specialist provision in mainstream primary schools for pupils with a primary need of Autism (ASD) in the Hailsham area and ESCC would like to establish a facility for up to 8 pupils at Grovelands Community Primary School to address this.

There is already a specialist facility for pupils at Hailsham Community College.  Developing a primary facility in close proximity to the existing secondary school facility would allow progression for pupils and continuity of support to aid the transition of pupils for whom a secondary facility is the most appropriate next stage. This will assist in reducing the increasing trend of transition from mainstream primary school to special secondary schools. For some pupils, providing early intervention at primary phase through a facility place, will address needs and enable transition to mainstream secondary school.

What are specialist facilities?

Specialist facilities are located within a mainstream school and provide specific support to a limited number of pupils with an education and health care plan (EHCP) naming a specific primary SEN.  Pupils within the facility are on roll of the mainstream school and are in addition to the published admission number.  The school receives additional funding from ESCC to support the child.  Placements are determined by ESCC according to clear criteria, and will be drawn from a wider geographical area than the school’s usual catchment.

The aspiration in East Sussex is that specialist facilities promote an ethos of inclusion and help integrate their pupils into the mainstream school for as much of their learning time as their needs allow.  The facility should also provide access to a base within the school for more intensive support when required.  The East Sussex model increasingly expects that the expertise of staff within the facility provide significant benefits to the rest of the school and other schools in the local area to support all pupils with SEN and create a fully inclusive learning environment. 

Pupils in the facility will have their special educational needs reviewed regularly in discussion with parents/carers and professionals to ensure that the facility remains the most appropriate placement to meet these needs.

What will be the impact of the new facility on other pupils in the school?

We expect the new facility would have a positive impact on provision at the school.  Specialist staff would work with pupils in the new facility and also work with teaching staff across the school to develop skills and expertise in responding to SEN needs and creating an inclusive environment.

Will building work be required to establish the new facility and, if so, how will this be funded?

ESCC, working with Grovelands Community Primary School, has identified an area of the school building which could be adapted to provide the accommodation required for the new facility.  ESCC would fund the building works from its approved capital programme.

Would the school need to close during building work?

No.  The building project would be planned carefully and contractors would work with the school to ensure that works are scheduled to keep disruption to a minimum.  The building site would be a secure area to ensure the health and safety of the pupils, staff, parents/carers and visitors to the school.

What happens next

Following the consultation period, a report on the outcome of the consultation will be considered by the Lead Member for Education, Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability at a meeting in October 2018.  The Lead Member will decide whether to proceed with the proposal.  If approved, a statutory notice would be published in the local newspaper probably in November 2018, followed by a period of four weeks when further comments or objections could be submitted.  The Lead Member would consider any responses received during this time before making a final decision on whether to approve the proposal at a meeting likely to be held in December 2018.


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