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PLANS TO CONSULT ON SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS SERVICES

THE Isle of Wight Council is set to consult with residents on major plans to improve and expand the provision of special educational needs and alternative education on the Island.

The plans are detailed in a delegated decision report to be approved by the council’s cabinet member for children’s services and education, Councillor Dawn Cousins.

Proposals include the relocation of Clatterford and Thompson House Tuition Centres to one site at Berry Hill, Lake (former Broadlea Primary School site – after Broadlea’s move to the former Lake Middle site); to relocate the special educational needs and early years services to the same site allowing the special educational needs support services to have separate accommodation but also work with young people in the tuition centres as required.

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The report also proposes to consult on plans for separate provision for children and young people with statements for behaviour, social and emotional difficulties at Love Lane, Cowes (after Lanesend’s move to the former Somerton Middle School site). This would operate under the same management of the tuition centre and would provide for up to 25 children and young people who do not have significant learning difficulties.

Under proposals, the educational welfare service, behaviour support team and mental health support team would also be relocated to this site allowing specialist support for this group of vulnerable young people and their families while retaining the ability to support mainstream schools across the Island.

The changes are being proposed as part of the council’s rationalisation of education support services. The move to a two-tier system has allowed the council to review the best way to organise special educational needs and early years support services and develop improved alternative provision for children and young people.

The existing buildings from which the tuition centres operate are not fit for purpose and the review provides an opportunity to move to more suitable accommodation offering improved facilities with the space to incorporate WISE workshops.

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.”

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If the proposals are approved, the consultation will run until 11 June 2012.

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