Consultation on a proposal to establish a specialist facility at Denton Community Primary School from 1 September 2023

Closes 10 Feb 2023

Opened 13 Jan 2023

Overview

East Sussex County Council is proposing to establish a specialist facility at Denton Community Primary School from 1 September 2023. The facility would accommodate up to 8 pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Why your views matter

Why do we need to establish a specialist facility at Meridian Community Primary School?

Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient good school places for all pupils, including for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  East Sussex County Council (the local authority)’s SEND forecasts provide clear evidence that we will continue to see an increase in the number of pupils with SEND in the coming years. 

The numbers of school aged children and young people aged 4-19 in East Sussex with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) have been rising steeply in recent years, from 3,126 in 2018-19 to 3,494 in 2021-22, an increase of 12%. In 2021-22, there were also 400 young people aged 19-25 in East Sussex with an EHCP.

In the next four years, the local authority forecasts that overall numbers of school-aged children and young people aged 4-19 with EHCPs will grow by around 15%, to approximately 4,000.

Chart 1: Overall Numbers with EHCPs – Age 4-19 years

Chart that shows Overall Numbers with EHCPs – Age 4-19 years

The following chart shows that the group with the biggest increase continues to be Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Rising ASD pupil numbers reflect increases in diagnosis and an increase in parental and professional awareness of these needs.

Chart 2: EHCPs by Primary Need Group

Chart showing EHCPs by Primary Need Group

Over the last few years, the local authority has been implementing its strategy to develop more places for SEND pupils.  This includes securing new special free schools and the development of more specialist facilities in mainstream schools.  Feedback from the local authority’s recent consultation on its SEND place planning strategy agreed that a priority for the local authority should be the creation of specialist provision in mainstream primary schools for pupils with ASD in the Peacehaven and Newhaven area.  The local authority would like to establish a facility for up to 8 pupils at Denton Community Primary School in Newhaven to address this.

What are specialist facilities?

Specialist facilities are located within a mainstream school and provide specific support to a limited number of pupils with an EHCP naming a specific primary special educational need.  Pupils within the facility are on the roll of the mainstream school and are in addition to the published admission number.  The school receives additional funding from the local authority to support the child.  Placements are determined by the local authority according to clear criteria and will be drawn from a wider geographical area than the school’s usual catchment.

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.

Specialist facilities also provide access to a base within the school for more intensive learning and support when required.  The expertise of staff within specialist facilities provides significant benefits to the rest of the school and other schools in the local area to support all pupils with special educational need 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 would expect the new facility to 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 special educational needsand creating an inclusive environment.

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

The school and the local authority have identified the existing modular classroom on the site as suitable to accommodate the new facility.  Some adaptation work would be required to the building and the local authority would work closely with the school to ensure these are completed in time for the facility to open.

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