More school places for children in the north of the city and those with complex speech, language and communication difficulties will be available next year if Sheffield City Council’s cabinet gives the schools approval to expand.
Sheffield’s cabinet will be discussing plans to increase capacity at Oughtibridge Primary School and The Rowan Special School as well as proposals to allow pupils from age five to attend Becton Hospital School in Beighton, which currently caters for children and young people aged 11 to 18-years-old.
If the plans get the go ahead the intake at Oughtibridge Primary could increase from 45 to 60 children per year, starting with the reception class in September 2015, to meet the growing local population. The Rowan Primary, a special needs school which specialises in teaching children with complex speech, language and communication difficulties, could see their capacity increase by 22 places to 90 overall, starting in September 2015.
Changing the age range at Becton School would formalise the current practice of welcoming young children aged five-years-old and above and therefore securing the normal per-place funding route for these pupils long-term.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, said: “As births continue to rise we need to constantly review our education provision to make sure we have the right type and number of places to meet the needs of every child and family in our city.
“We know that making sure children are able to access a school place that meets their needs, including good local primary schools in their community, ensures their education gets off to the best possible start.
“The council has a duty to ensure there are sufficient school places for all children but this is also a chance for us to really help boost the educational opportunities for children, particularly those with more complex needs.”
The proposals, which are recommended for approval, will be heard at the council’s next cabinet meeting on 17 September.
Consultation has been carried out to listen to concerns and to test the level of support for the proposals from parents, school staff, governors and the community. Activity has included the circulation of newsletters, meetings with parents, staff and school governors and where appropriate engagement with local residents in the vicinity of the schools.
The proposals for Oughtibridge Primary are a direct response to increasing demand for places at the school from within its own catchment area.
Demand for places for children who have complex communication difficulties, particularly those who are on the autistic spectrum, have also increased at The Rowan Special School. Some of the additional places are intended to be used on a flexible basis by pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder and who are currently attending mainstream schools.
The proposed changes at Becton will enable the children who already attend the school to be formally registered on the school’s roll.