Release Date: 06/07/2012
Parents of children and young people with Special Educational Needs could have new purpose built facilities based on the site of three mainstream schools in the borough.
The Council is carrying out a consultation regarding plans to improve the quality of special school facilities available locally, for pupils with severe and complex learning needs. The ambitious plans propose a reprovisioning of the services currently available at the Strathmore School in Ham and create purpose-built facilities on the sites of Russell Primary School and Grey Court Secondary. This move would offer a wider curriculum, with genuine opportunities for inclusive learning. In addition, the consultation presents proposals for a new SEN school to be based on the Clifden Site in Twickenham.
The facilities would include improved sensory equipment, enhanced therapeutic spaces, a bespoke hydrotherapy pool and facilities for increasing independent living skills. Pupils would also be able to benefit from the wider facilities available at the host schools, such as larger hall spaces, improved sports and changing facilities, and specialist teaching rooms.
Cllr Christine Percival, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Education, Youth and Children’s Services, said:
“We currently have two special schools for children and young people with Special Educational Needs. In recent Ofsted inspections both have been judged as ‘good’. As with our commitment to all schools in the borough, we want to strive to ensure that they are ‘excellent’. To do this we need to make significant improvements to the buildings and the facilities available. The Strathmore site isn’t able to accommodate these improvements.
“By developing the special school provision alongside our mainstream schools, we can increase the extent to which children with disabilities and learning difficulties can access the whole curriculum and extended school activities. At the same time they will have a specially designed facility with remodelled, high quality buildings to ensure that their needs are addressed.
“We are asking all parents of children what they think of these proposals in an informal consultation. Should parents be in favour of the plans we will investigate this further and a formal consultation will be launched before a decision is made by Cabinet later in the year.”
Ivan Pryce, Headteacher of the Strathmore School, said:
“Our pupils deserve a school built to meet their special needs. This is an innovative proposal that will create a 21st Century school and community facility accessible to all. I am very excited at the opportunities this will create for children of all ages to learn together whilst Strathmore pupils continue to receive the highest quality specialist teaching and resources that they need.”
To see the proposals and have your say online, go to the SEN Consultation page.