Cabinet members approved a proposal to convert Kendray resource centre into a facility for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at their meeting today (Wednesday, 6 February).
Members were reminded that in November 2017, they gave approval to adopt a placement and sufficiency strategy for Barnsley’s children and young people with special educational needs.
The strategy sought to create a more sustainable system of providing education placements for a growing number of SEN children and young people, through investing in and improving the capacity of local mainstream and specialist schools. This would avoid the need to place them in far more costlier, independent settings outside of the Barnsley borough.
With accommodation for additional places in very short supply in Barnsley, the council has increasingly had to look hard at changing buildings, particularly community centres, into satellite facilities for commissioning special education placements, via the borough-based Wellspring Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
Members have now agreed to extend the lease to the Wellspring MAT and convert the Kendray Resource Centre into such a satellite facility.
This will lead to a group of pupils who are currently being provided with alternative education at the centre, by Wellspring MAT, being transferred to the Athersley ‘I Know I Can’ Youth Centre where their educational needs will continue to be met.
In addition, the Kidsworld Nursery which is an existing tenant at the Kendray Resource Centre will be served notice by the Wellspring MAT. The council is providing ongoing support to the nursery to make sure alternative premises or alternative child care places are provided to the children and families affected.
The council’s child care sufficiency needs assessment suggests that there are enough alternative places available in the area.
Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Achieving Potential) said: “Today's decision will enable a group of pupils with SEND to be offered a placement at a facility which, once converted, will help them to fully access the National Curriculum, achieve their potential and promote inclusion and social mobility through education.
“At the same time, it will enable the council to meet its statutory duty in a way which provides value for money and makes more effective use of available resources.”
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