Comprehensive proposals to enhance and increase Additional Learning Needs provision in Cardiff could see more than 200 new places provided city-wide.
A report outlining plans for primary, secondary and special schools, acknowledges the growing population of learners with complex learning needs, autism spectrum conditions and emotional health and wellbeing needs and aims to address the increased demand for specialist placements across Cardiff.
The report makes key recommendations for consideration of the Council’s Cabinet, including conducting public consultations on a range of plans which would allow designated placements to be increased by the following;
- 60 primary-age placements for learners with complex learning needs and/ or autism spectrum conditions
- 64 primary-age placements for learners with emotional health and wellbeing needs
- 142 secondary-age and post-16 placements for learners with emotional health and wellbeing needs.
Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said:”We are proud of the significant progress that has been made in recent years to grow the support, skills and inclusive facilities available in schools, but as the complexity of learners’ needs grow there is a pressing need for increased specialist provision.
The proposals aim to foster an inclusive approach that addresses the unique requirements of learners with additional learning needs, with a focus on enhancing capacity and delivering an innovative curriculum through suitable provision.
Importance is placed on early identification, research based intervention, accessible school buildings and strong multi-agency partnerships, which together can ensure that no learner is left behind and is provided with equal opportunities to thrive.”
Proposals for a phased increase in the number of Additional Learning Needs Places for learners with Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs include establishing a Specialist Resource Base (SRB) at the following schools from September 2024, in existing school buildings:
- 8 places at Baden Powell Primary School
- 8 places at Fairwater Primary School to replace the existing Wellbeing Class.
- 16 places at Herbert Thompson Primary School
- 16 places at Lakeside Primary School to replace the existing Wellbeing Class.
- 8 places at Springwood Primary School to replace the existing Wellbeing Class.
- 8 places at Ysgol Gymraeg Pwll Coch to replace the existing Wellbeing Class.
- 20 places at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr
- Greenhill Special School would increase from 64 places to 96 places operating as a single school for learners aged 11-18 across two sites including the current site at Heol Brynglas, Rhiwbina, and a new site at Ty Glas Avenue, Llanishen from September 2026.
The Council is also proposing to expand Cardiff’s Pupil Referral Unit, supporting learners with a range of Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs, increasing its capacity to 180 places, from September 2023. For a temporary period the extended Pupil Referral Unit would be located on part of the site currently occupied by Fitzalan High School, from September 2023, in addition to the Cefn Road site, Mynachdy.
The enlarged PRU is proposed to operate as a single establishment for learners aged 11-18 across three sites including the current site for up to 90 learners including the Cefn Road site, plus 48 learners in new-build accommodation on part of the site currently occupied by Willows High School from September 2027, and 42 learners in new provision at Oak House, St Mellons.
The Council will also undertake an engagement exercise in the autumn term on plans forLansdowne Primary School to potentially occupy a separate part of thecurrent Fitzalan site, on a temporary basis, whilst the existing Lansdowne school buildings undergo essential repairs.Proposals are being developed to establish the level of work required at the current Fitzalan High School site to ensure suitable learning environments are provided for the primary school and the PRU, and the potential timescales for works and associated logistics.
Should plans progress following a further Cabinet decision, the Council will work closely with the Governing Body of Lansdowne Primary School to minimise any potential impact on teaching and learning, including potential support for pupils and families transitioning to the temporary school.
Proposals for a phased increase in the number of Additional Learning Needs Places for learners with Complex Learning Needs include establishing an SRB for Complex Learning Needs at the following schools from September 2024 in existing school buildings:
- 20 places at Coed Glas Primary School
- 20 places at Greenway Primary School
- 20 places at Severn Primary School
The report also proposes locating the Community Teaching Team in the former Severn Adult Centre.
Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will consider the recommendations in the report on 14 July 2023.