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24 April 2019

Face to face discussions on investment in special schools

special needs pupil smiling

"These meetings are an opportunity to work together on providing our children with a long-term first class education."

Terence Herbert, Wiltshire Council's executive director, children and education

Wiltshire Council is holding face to face discussions with schools and families on how to best invest at least £20m into providing special school education as part of the extended pre-publication consultation.


In March the council extended the consultation into how Wiltshire can prepare for the additional places needed as well as providing excellent provision into the future.


As part of the consultation, Wiltshire Council is hosting three meetings with schools and families to talk about special needs education with a focus in the north of the county. The first was held earlier this month and the next two will be held on the following dates:


2 May 6:30pm 8pm at County Hall in Trowbridge

3 May 11am to 12:30pm at the Devizes Sports club on London Road in Devizes


The meetings are an opportunity to discuss potential options. The previous proposal to close the three special schools, Rowdeford, Larkrise and St Nicholas and to build a new school at Rowdeford remains an option.  However, Wiltshire Council will take into consideration all responses which differ from this as part of an inclusive and wide-ranging reconsideration of consultation submissions.


People who would like to attend one of these events should email specialschools@wiltshire.gov.uk to book a place.


Terence Herbert, Wiltshire Council's executive director children and education said: "These meetings are an opportunity to discuss the best way to secure the future education for our children and young people with special needs and disabilities.


"Our schools in the north are full and overall we will need additional spaces by 2023. We are holding these meetings because we want to work with families and staff to find a solution. We want to meet the need for additional places and improve outcomes for children and young people with special needs and disabilities who are educated in our mainstream schools, as well as special schools. These meetings are an opportunity to work together on providing our children with a long-term first class education."


People are encouraged to have their say on the extended consultation which will be live until 6 May 2019.


The council will treat all previous consultation responses received between 9 January 2019 and 1 March 2019 as part of a pre-publication consultation. This means they are part of an initial consultation on what proposals should be published for further consideration.  This is a process with a number of steps, and the council re-opened the first stage. 


Responses already provided to the council will be automatically considered as pre-publication consultation, and do not need to be resubmitted. If you would like to submit further information, please note that this can be forwarded to specialschools@wiltshire.gov.uk.


A new decision on the steps to be taken should then be made by the council's cabinet this summer, which means that the timetable for future SEND provision will still be met.


Last updated: 2 May 2019 | Last reviewed: 2 May 2019

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