Special needs provision at Grove School to be extended
A REVIEW of special educational needs across Northumberland has concluded that The Grove School in Tweedmouth should extend its age range to include two year-olds.
The school, which currently caters for pupils aged from three to 19, is one of eight schools around the county that could expand its age range.
Northumberland County Council will now publish statutory notices on the proposals.
The 12-week review was undertaken because of concerns about poor outcomes being achieved by pupils with special educational needs, the high costs incurred and the relatively high number of complex and vulnerable pupils being required to travel great distances to have their needs addressed.
Following the review, the council put forward a series of recommendations which include the need to address the needs of all children with additional requirements within the county, the need to address the unsatisfactory geographical variation of provision and the need to address the severe under capacity of specialist provision for early years children with complex requirements.
However, the possibility of creating a new special school in Berwick to accommodate special needs children has been ruled out because of the costs involved. The creation of a new special unit at middle school age was also dismissed.
Berwick Academy and Berwick Middle School already have special unit provision, although an appropriate first school has yet to be identified.
St Mary’s First School governors did discuss the possibility of creating a special unit catering for two to nine-year-olds but felt it did not have the facilities to provide a safe environment in which to support children with complex needs.
A report to the council’s executive on Monday said: “In light of this development and as part of the next round of consultations, discussions will be arranged with the Berwick partnership of schools to develop specialist facilities in other mainstream schools in the area.”
Berwick Academy has carried out its own consultation to amend the age ranges of its special unit.
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