Education shake-up for centres

By Emily Pearce

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

 

SCHOOL services for children with special education needs (SEN) and behavioural, social and emotional difficulties are set to be remodelled by the Isle of Wight Council.

Proposals to close the council's two pupil referral units, Thompson House and Clatterford Tuition Centres, and relocate services to a refurbished school made vacant following the move to a two-tier system, were announced by the authority this week.

The proposed sites are the former Broadlea Primary School site at Berry Hill, Lake, and Love Lane Primary School site, Cowes.

Both Thompson House, Blackwater, and Clatterford Tuition Centre, Carisbrooke, provide alternative school provision for children who have been excluded from mainstream education.

Thompson House also provides support for children with SEN and early years services.

The council said the proposals, drawn up following a review of SEN provision, will raise educational standards, help manage difficult behaviour and tackle attendance and exclusion issues.

It said accommodation at Thompson House and Clatterford Tuition Centre is not fit for purpose, and has warned services are under significant strain because the number of pupils excluded from school has trebled compared with the 2010/11 academic year.

Lesley Rhodes, interim commissioner for special educational needs and alternative provision, said: "This is an excellent opportunity to combine existing support and teaching expertise with more suitable accommodation in order to improve overall provision for children and young people whose needs are unable to be met in their mainstream school."

A six-week public consultation on the proposals is set to be approved under delegated powers by the cabinet member for children's services and education, Cllr Dawn Cousins. A decision cannot be taken before Tuesday.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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