Maplewell res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties may be closed

Loughborough Echo - - NEWS - By David God­sall david.god­sall@trin­i­tymir­

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.

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