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#309957 - 16th Apr 2009 2:11pm major overhaul (special needs education in Wirral)

Plans for major overhaul of special needs education in Wirral

A MAJOR shake up is planned for special needs education in Wirral.

A government funding scheme of around £25m has presented a "once in a generation" opportunity, according to Wirral Council education experts.

The overhaul of education provision for pupils with complex learning difficulties will be undertaken over a five-year programme and, if approved later this month by the town hall cabinet, will herald fundamental changes including:

* A special needs further education complex set up within the campus of Wirral Met College for students aged 16 to 19.

* The replacement of Stanley and Elleray Park schools with two new-build centres attached to existing secondary schools (called 'co-location').

A series of consultation meetings has been taking place over the past 12 months as the authority carried out a review of special needs provision.

Educationalists discussed the scheme in detail with parents, headteachers and governors of Stanley, Elleray Park and the Lyndale School.

It is not proposed at present to include Lyndale in the plans pending a further study of its unique services.

Wirral Council, like some others in the UK, has been moving away from a policy of attempting to integrate special needs children with mainstream pupils.

"I think that it has generally been agreed that this approach was not working," said Peter Edmonson, the council's head of participation and integration.

"The emphasis now is to give special needs pupils their own space.

"Our approach will be to do this but within their own school, attached to a secondary school site.

"It will mean that children can, if they feel ready and able to do so, can integrate with the mainstream, while those who are not at that stage, do not have to.

"It's all about letting the child progress at their own pace."

The council believes that the existing schools, although excellent learning establishments, were suffering from a lack of space to expand and improve their facilities.

Cllr Phil Davies, cabinet member for children’s services and lifelong learning, said: "These are very good schools operating in buildings that in many cases are no longer fit for purpose.

"It is not about reducing the overall number of places - indeed we anticipate an increase in post 16 provision under the proposals, and will still require a similar number of staff to teach, support and care for the pupils.

"This is the beginning of a process, during which we will be liaising closely with pupils, parents, headteachers, carers and other agencies to ensure that the excellent provision we currently have for children with special needs is carried forward into the future."

Talks are well underway with Wirral Met towards a scheme which would allow the authority to work in partnership with the college to establish a post-16 learning centre at 12 Quays for special needs students.

Director of children and young people’s department, Howard Cooper, said: "This is a once in a generation opportunity for some of our most vulnerable children and young people to benefit from the investments we are making in ensuring that all our schools, both special and mainstream, are fit for the demands of the 21st century.

"Co-location of the proposed new schools offers enormous potential for further including our pupils with special needs in mainstream life and providing a learning pathway, which takes them from childhood to adult life.

"Working closely with parents and all the other services who these children and their families need can only enhance this."

Cabinet meets next Thursday to discuss the wide-ranging proposals.


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#309960 - 16th Apr 2009 2:24pm Re: major overhaul (special needs education in Wirral) [Re: ]
ponytail Offline

Registered: 31st Dec 2008
Posts: 578
Loc: wirral
I am so glad they are refraining from integrating special educational needs pupils with mainstream pupils. It has proven a failure - the children are not happy and they do not have the support of classroom assistants as an when needed. Also they are fearful of being bullied and segregated due to their differences. It has been inhumane how children with special educational needs have been treated. They do integrate with each other during their schoolday and on outings and have specialist teachers (more empathetic to their needs) to nurture and keep them safe, give them pastoral care and also educate them to their own abilities. They can stay with their peers whom they have sometimes been with through nursery, primary and secondary specialist schools. This way they can form frienships and support for each other outside school: remembering they do not always have a life outside the home and school. They are different in many ways and need to be treated and given the respect needed for them to develop good citizenship skills which they need later on in life for themselves. I am so glad the council are at last seeing sense. The individual care and attention can definitely help them progress throughout school and into college/work with extra support and guidance. We should not be forcing them into a school which they neither want to go nor move them away from their schoolfriends into different schools. I hope Wirral lead the way in highlighting how children with special educational needs can be properly and professionally educated in our society.

#309966 - 16th Apr 2009 3:17pm Re: major overhaul (special needs education in Wirral) [Re: ponytail]
bert1 Offline

Wiki Veteran

Registered: 27th Nov 2008
Posts: 7864
Loc: tranmere
well done Gloria
God help us,
Come yourself,
Don't send Jesus,
This is no place for children.


#310075 - 16th Apr 2009 10:24pm Re: major overhaul (special needs education in Wirral) [Re: bert1]
SoundLad Offline

Are you SoNutz?
Forum Master

Registered: 22nd Aug 2007
Posts: 2987
Loc: Birkenhead, United Kingdom
I had special needs when i was in school and the teachers put me in mainstream classes i hated every second of it cause in the special needs class i was with people who understood me and in the mainstream i used to get picked on cause i was so crap at maths at one point i got asked to go up to the blackboard and write a sum out everyone laughed cause i got an easy one wrong.. But thats the joy of being crap at maths also i always sat alone and never mixed. Thanks goes to my Aspergers and to this day people still find me strange but you know something i couldnt care less i get on with my life with difficulties and try not to show or tell anybody i have it and it makes my life better. But seriously though kids with special needs should stay in there own class and thats that.. smile
Lee Mills


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