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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting : 29th November 2011

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning

 

Establishment of Tier 2 Provision for Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek approval from Cabinet to proceed with the opening of the Resource Base for pupils with ASD at St Illtyd Primary School.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet should approve proposals to open the ASD provision in January 2012.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure that pupils with ASD are provided with an appropriate education.

Background

2.             Within the Vale of Glamorgan there is currently a range of Tier 2 provision for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).  This provision consists of specialist resource bases, formerly known as units, for children with speech and language difficulties, hearing impairment, behavioural difficulties and Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD).  These are based in mainstream schools, and allow for children to be taught in small specialist classes, with opportunities for inclusion in mainstream activities.  Where good progress has been made, pupils move out of the provision and in to mainstream.

3.             In relation to MLD, there are currently 4 specialist provisions, based at St Illtyd Primary, Fairfield Primary and Jenner Park Primary (2 classes).  Over the past year, numbers in two of these provisions have reduced significantly.  This has been due to an increase in parental preference for mainstream provision.    

4.             At St Illtyd Primary, all but one of the pupils have now left to go on to secondary school. 

5.             Over recent years there has been an increase in numbers of children with a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Within the Vale of Glamorgan there is a range of support for pupils with ASD, including attendance at Ashgrove Special School and support from the ASD Outreach Team for over 100 pupils attending mainstream schools.  However, there is currently no Tier 2 provision for pupils with ASD.

6.             It is therefore proposed that the MLD resource base at St Illtyd Primary should be replaced by an ASD provision.

7.             It is proposed that the changes should take place in January 2012.

8.             In the future, pupils with MLD throughout the Authority could be considered for placement at Jenner Park or Fairfield Primary.  However, current trends indicate that, where possible, parents are choosing to send their children to local mainstream classes as opposed to specialist provisions.

9.             The new resource base will cater for up to eight pupils at KS1 and 2, and will be staffed by one specialist teacher and two Learning Support Assistants (LSAs).  Pupils will be placed at the provision through the weekly SEN Panel. 

10.        The resource base will cater for children in mainstream schools who, despite a high level of support, are making little progress, and require a smaller, specialist environment, but who benefit from opportunities for inclusion in mainstream.  In addition, pupils who are currently attending Ashgrove may also be considered.

11.        The Head of Ashgrove has been working closely with the Pupil Support Service in the development of these proposals, and the Outreach Service at Ashgrove School will play an important role in supporting the new provision.

Relevant Issues and Options

12.        On 2nd February 2011, a report was presented to Cabinet outlining the proposals.  Cabinet agreed to commence the statutory consultation process.

13.        It was decided that an informal consultation should take place, in order to give interested parties the opportunity to discuss the proposals.  Meetings took place at the school with the governing body and parents.  In addition, individual meetings were offered to parents who had particular queries or concerns.

14.        Following informal consultation, a period of formal consultation took place, including a public meeting on July 4th.   Those who attended the meeting expressed support for the proposals.  A consultation document was sent out to all interested parties.  No responses were received.

15.        A second report was submitted to Cabinet on September 7th, seeking approval to proceed with statutory notice.

16.        A statutory notice was published on September 29th.  No objections were received.

17.        Due to the fact that there were no objections, the Council does not require permission from the Welsh Government to proceed with the proposals. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.        There will be an increased cost in relation to the establishment of the provision, in that an additional Learning Support Assistant (LSA) will be required. The cost of an additional LSA will be approximately £16k.  However, many of the young people currently have a high level of 1:1 support within mainstream, and therefore a saving will be made in the LSA budget.

19.        Some adaptations will need to be made to the classrooms to ensure that they are appropriate for pupils with ASD.  The cost of these will be approximately £11k.  Additional costs will be met from Pupil Support Service budget.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.        Under the Education Act 1986 there is a duty on a Local Education Authority to secure sufficient schools, to provide appropriate education for pupils of different ages, abilities and aptitudes.  Pupils with special educational needs are entitled to receive full time education that is appropriate to their needs.  This may be in a special school or a mainstream school or somewhere else.

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.        There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

22.        Section 149 of The Equalities Act 2010 has incorporated The Race Relations Act 1976, Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.  A Public Authority must in the exercise of its functions give due regard to requirements set out in this legislation.  These proposals will benefit children and young people with Additional Learning Needs.

Corporate/Service Objectives

23.        C1011: To improve outcomes for learners deemed to be vulnerable due to a range of factors affecting their general wellbeing.

24.        IS/A (PIAP 2.11) Re-align current tier two provision to meet changing needs.

Policy Framework and Budget

25.        This is a matter for Executive decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26.        Full consultation will take place in line with statutory processes.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Caroline Rees

Head of Additional Learning Needs

Officers Consulted

David Davies

Pupil Support Manager

Responsible Officer:

Bryan Jeffreys

Director of Learning and Development