Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 14th February 2008
Title of Item/Report
Reorganisation of Education for Children with Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD)
Record of the Decision
Members considered a report relating to the reorganisation of education for children with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD)

It was explained that a review of provision for children with complex needs was carried out in 2006 in consultation with the headteachers and governing bodies of the special schools and other specialist settings maintained by the Authority. The first phase of action arising from the review had already taken place: Abbey Hill and Westlands schools had formed Stockton First Federation, and Abbey Hill was to be enlarged to consolidate provision for secondary-aged children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) on that site. Children with ASD at Westlands School were to be transferred to Abbey Hill School Technology College on the completion of those works.

Cabinet considered a report that covered the second phase of action, a similar reorganisation for children and young people with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). It was explained that two schools catered for these youngsters at present. Westlands School provided for children and young people aged 7-16 with a total of 115 places (including 40 places for students with ASD). King Edwin School offered 64 places for students aged 11-16 only. It was advised that in order to improve learning opportunities for this vulnerable group of young people and make the best use of specialist staff and offer a broader range of curriculum options, it was proposed that:
• the two establishments should be brought together on a single site
• King Edwin School should be closed
• Westlands School should be developed as the single specialist centre in the borough for pupils with BESD

It was advised that a third phase of action would include a proposal to replace Westlands School with a new building on the same site, to introduce post-16 provision there for students with BESD, and to introduce residential provision at Abbey Hill for children and young people with Learning Difficulty and Disability (LDD). That phase was to be the subject of a future report to Cabinet.

The proposed closure of King Edwin School required statutory consultation. The Authority was required to consult all persons likely to be affected by the closure, before considering whether to publish a Statutory Notice. It was proposed that a consultation paper based on the content of this report should be circulated to stakeholders including parents, students, school staff and governors. It was noted that the outcome of the initial consultation would be reported to Cabinet in April.

RESOLVED that statutory consultation on a proposal to close King Edwin School on 31 August 2008, be agreed.
Reasons for the Decision
Section 315 of the Education Act 1996 requires that local authorities with responsibility for education keep under review their arrangements for special education provision. A review of provision for pupils with complex needs was carried out in 2006/07. One of the conclusions following the review was that provision for specific types of need should be located on a single site where possible.

Section 15 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 lays down a statutory procedure that must be followed when any proposal to close a maintained school is under consideration. Before deciding whether to publish a Statutory Notice, the Authority must first consult those persons most likely to be affected by the change.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Councillor Cunningham declared a personal non prejudicial interest in this item as he was a member of Stockton First Federation.
Details of any Dispensations
Not Applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
By no later than midnight on Friday 22nd February 2008

Date of Publication: 18 February 2008

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