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Brackenfield Consultation

Brackenfield SEND School

Pre-Publication Consultation on a Proposal by the Governing Body for the Extension of the Age Range of Brackenfield SEND School from 4-16 years to 3-16 years

Context

Brackenfield is a South Derbyshire special school for children from 4-16 years old. Over the last 3 years we have streamlined our offer to become a specialist school for pupils with communication and comprehension difficulties. All our pupils are significantly cognitively impaired, operating developmentally between 0 – 6 years of age. We support pupils’ learning and journey into adulthood through a curriculum based on life skills and skill generalisation. Pupils are not taught in chronological age groups, they are placed in class groups dependent on their cognitive, sensory, social emotional and communication needs. Classes are organised into pathways. All pupils are placed in a pathway however some may have some of their education in another pathway based on their individual needs. Pupils may move pathways in their school career or even in a year.

Proposal

It is proposed to change the age range of Brackenfield SEND School from 4-16 to 3-16 years. Under this proposal the provision would be maintained along with the rest of school.

This is being proposed due to the increase in children that have been placed at Brackenfield from 4 years old. Brackenfield caters for children with severe communication and cognition needs as well as complex medical needs. Being situated in Long Eaton means we offer places to Derbyshire, Derby City and Nottinghamshire – this would widen the nursery provision options for parents of children with SEND in these areas.

Brackenfield SEND School fully supports a model of inclusion; however, it is recognised that there is a small cohort of children whose needs are great and would be better supported in specialist provision from a young age. This is particularly apparent when these children have associated medical needs which require specialist training; something that Brackenfield already has expertise in.

The impact of the proposal on existing staff and pupils at Brackenfield would be negligible. We already have classroom spaces and resources that are appropriate for this age group and the expertise within the staff. Extending the age range to 3 years would enable the provision of a foundation class which would mean all EYFS children would be within the same class or classes. The proposal would not alter the school’s admission arrangements and parents of nursery aged children would continue to apply in the usual way for admission to school. This means the children would need to be in receipt of an EHC Plan.

It is the anticipation that approximately four 3 year-olds would be accommodated at the school.

Staff

Staffing numbers at Brackenfield have steadily increased over the last 2.5 years in order to meet the increased demand for places. The staff for the foundation provision would come from the current staff team. We have several staff that have experience of working with nursery aged children and would be able to run this provision. We have consulted with HR and have considered the need for a teacher and specialist teaching and learning assistants to run this provision.

Funding

Funding is the same model as the current pupils in the school. This has been discussed on a multi-disciplinary meeting on the 3rd November 2020. The funding arrangement is:

  • 3 or more days would be the full place funding and full top up funding
  • 2.5 days or under would be 50% of the top up funding and 50% of the top up fee

This would be adequate funding to run the usual model which is a teacher and two specialist teaching learning assistants.

Consultation

The consultation on this proposal will be for four weeks from 15th December 2020.

A meeting will be arranged with all interested parties to explain the proposal and respond to questions.  This will take place on Wednesday 13th January 2021 at 6pm. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this meeting will be held virtually by Microsoft Teams. Please email headteacher@brackenfield.derbyshire.sch.uk if you would like to attend.

Any comments, observations or objections can be made through this form. The deadline for receiving responses to this consultation is Tuesday 26th January 2021.