Plans for expansion of city’s special schools
A HUGE expansion of Cardiff’s school facilities for pupils with additional learning needs could go ahead if approved this week.
Cardiff council’s cabinet will decide whether to go ahead with the planned expansion and adaptation of additional learning needs provision to meet the expected rise in demand.
Seven schemes have been put forward which include a mix of special schools and specialist resource bases, which provide targeted help for children most in need, located within mainstream schools.
The measures would see the number of places at Ty Gwyn Special School increased to 198 with the adaptation of the former Trelai Youth Centre building to provide three extra classrooms. It would also see an increase in the leaving age for pupils from 16 to 19.
The changes, if approved, would also see Meadowbank Special School designated as suitable for speech language and communication needs and complex learning disabilities.
The school’s current designation is for specific language impairments.
At Allensbank Primary School, there would be a new eight-place early intervention class in September 2019 for children with speech and language needs and the special resource base at the school would be phased out by July 2020 at the latest.
The changes would also see a 20-place special resource base set up at St Mary the Virgin Church in Wales School while Ysgol Pwll Coch would also open a special resource base, initially providing up to 10 places, but with the option of increasing this to 20 places in future.
At Ysgol Glantaf the number of places in its special resource base would rise to 30.
Councillor Sarah Merry, cabinet member for education, said: “I welcome the broad support for the schemes we have put forward for consultation. There has been a significant growth in the number of young people with additional learning needs in Cardiff since 2012 as the city’s population has increased.
“It’s our aim to encourage as many children and young people with additional learning needs as possible to go to their local school and over 90% are using mainstream education.
“For those with more complex needs we have funded an additional 103 special school and specialist resource base places in Cardiff during the last five years.”
Plans to expand the Hollies Special School have not been put forward after concerns were raised during the consultation. Further plans will be developed to meet this area of need.
Cabinet will meet on Thursday to consider the recommendation to progress the seven schemes.