Maplewell residential facilities may be closed
PLANS have been revealed to close the residential facilities at Maplewell Hall Special School in Woodhouse Eaves.
Consultations are being proposed to the changes, which could come into effect in September 2018.
A report to Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet, which meets later this week, says there is significant pressure on the council’s High Needs Block (HNB) budget which funds special needs provision.
The report said: “The closure of the residential facilities will allow savings to be made to the HNB budget and funding to be directed to other areas of increased demand where appropriate.
“The closure of the residential facilities in September 2018 will allow for phased removal and adequate measures of support to be put in place (where appropriate) for families/pupils affected by the change.”
Maplewell Hall Special School, built in 1857, currently has capacity for 195 pupils with SEND, in addition to a 10-bedroom residential facility.
The school has maintained status and is therefore directly facility controlled by the local authority.
The school caters predominantly for pupils with moderate learning difficulties, having 183 pupils on roll, including 20 pupils within a designated Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) facility.
The report states the school currently receives an allocation of £293,000 a year (from the High Needs Block) to support the residential provision - however no pupils currently attending the school have any requirement for residential provision, and this has been the case for the past few years.
The report added: “Discussions with the headteacher and chair of governors indicate that the funding provided is used to support extended school activities with regular pupil sleep-overs.
“This is intended to support curriculum enrichment, but is not designated as either respite or short break provision.”
Figures provided by the school indicate that the use of the residential facility is up to 24 students per night Monday to Thursday, with each person having 12-14 nights’ attendance per school year.
If the consultation proposal is agreed, consultation with parents, the local community and other stakeholders will commence before the end of September for six weeks. This would enable the outcome of the consultation to be reported back to the Cabinet in November.
• The proposals will be discussed by the county council’s cabinet on Friday, September 15.