A consultation launching today is seeking residents’ views on proposals for additional provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Thanet and a change of use of the Garlinge Children’s Centre building.
Kent County Council is proposing providing a 16-place Specialist Resource Provision (SRP) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as part of Garlinge Primary School and Nursery. The SRP would be based in the building that has been used part-time by Garlinge Children’s Centre with children’s centre services to be offered to members of the Garlinge community through Birchington and Six Bells Children’s Centres instead, including outreach services for those families that require them. The former Garlinge Children’s Centre building would be extended to provide classrooms, a care suite, intervention space and office space for the SRP.
The consultation runs from today (Wednesday, September 29) until Thursday, November 25 and can be filled in online or via a paper form that can be picked up from the school reception.
Sue Chandler, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, said: “It is imperative that every child and young person in Kent has access to a school place that is appropriate for their needs and that will allow them to thrive, develop and succeed. There is a real need in Thanet for Specialist Resource Provision (SRP) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is why we are putting forward this proposal.
“Kent County Council made a commitment to work closely with children and young people with SEND, and their families, and to put them at the heart of everything we do so we really value their views on this proposal. We are also keen to hear from other members of the community, particularly those who have previously benefited from children’s centre services in Thanet, as we want to make sure this is a proposal that works for everyone.”
As of January 2021, a total of 15,281 children and young people with SEND in Kent had an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP); 1,798 of whom (11%) live in Thanet. The number of Thanet children with an EHCP has increased by 12.3% since last year and additional provision is needed in the district.
ASD is the most common special education need type in Kent with 42.7% of all EHCPs (0-25) having ASD as their primary need. In Thanet 50% of all EHCPs for primary aged school pupils have ASD named as their primary need in their EHCP.
Some children with an EHCP require a higher level of support than a mainstream school can provide but their needs are not so complex that a special school is appropriate for them. For these children, a SRP based in a mainstream school is the best way to ensure they receive the education they require. However, Thanet does not currently have any SRPs in any of its primary schools, the nearest ones being in Canterbury and Whitstable.
A number of children’s centres, including Garlinge and Birchington, have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic with services being delivered from key centres within each district. There are currently 46 Children’s Centres open and KCC is undertaking a phased reopening of the remaining ones throughout autumn and winter, ensuring each one is Covid safe for children, families and staff.
It is proposed that the early years, health (health visiting and midwifery) and parenting services previously delivered from Garlinge Children’s Centre would be transferred to the current part-time Birchington Children’s Centre, which would have its opening hours extended to full-time.
The network of Thanet Children’s Centres work closely together offering outreach support across Thanet. Outreach services, including home visiting, are an important aspect of Children’s Centre services and ensure support is targeted at young children and families who are at risk of poor outcomes. Further outreach services will be developed for the Garlinge catchment area based on local community needs. This will include some delivery of services from Garlinge Primary School. The proposed changes will not affect the level of outreach support provided to families living within the catchment area of Garlinge Children’s Centre.
KCC is also proposing opening a second SRP for pupils with ASD at St John’s Primary School in Margate. The SRP is being established in a building which was previously the school’s nursery and is currently used for SEN interventions. There will be an extension to the building and some internal reconfiguration undertaken to provide the spaces for the SRP while maintaining intervention capacity for the school. It is expected that the SRP will open in January 2022.
Residents can fill out the consultation at www.kent.gov.uk/garlingeconsultation; pick up a paper questionnaire from Garlinge Primary School reception, Westfield Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 5PA during school opening hours throughout the duration of the consultation period; or attend one of our Question and Answer sessions, which will be held at Garlinge Primary School on Tuesday, October 19 from 4pm to 6pm and on Wednesday, November 3 from 5pm to 7pm – please contact Sally Heyes on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 03000 412559 to book a slot. Questions and queries can be emailed to EKAreaEducation@kent.gov.uk or posed by phoning 03000 418794.
Notes to journalists:
Mainstream Schools with Specialist Resource Provision (SRP)
More than 70 of our local authority and academy primary and secondary mainstream schools in Kent have additional Specialist Resource Provision (SRP) to provide support for children and young people who, without specialist input, are unlikely to make progress in their learning and will struggle to take part in mainstream school life.
Many children and young people with additional learning needs can make better, more sustained progress when they attend mainstream school. A small number of children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) require higher levels of support than can usually be provided by a mainstream school, but with a high level of specialist support could be successfully included and make good progress alongside their peers. For these pupils KCC maintains a range of SRPs, which are located within mainstream schools.
To be considered for SRP the child or young person must first have an EHCP.
We have SRPs for the following special educational need (SEN) types:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Speech, Language and communication needs (SLCN)
- Hearing Impairment (HI)
- Visual Impairment (VI)
- Physical Disability (PD)
- Cognition and Learning (C&L)
- Specific Learning Difficulties such as Dyslexia (SPLD)
- Profound Severe and Complex Needs (PSCN)
Every SRP is led by a Lead Teacher who is a specialist in the SEN need type of the SRP. This means that they have or are studying for a degree level qualification. SRP support staff will also have enhanced and specialist levels of training. The SRP includes additional support staff who are teaching assistants with additional knowledge and skills in the need type of the SRP who will support pupils both in the SRP base and when the pupils are working in mainstream.
All SRPs have a base such as a classroom for pupils where they can receive specialist teaching for some subjects or receive SEN interventions (small group teaching). Some children may also receive speech and language therapy or occupational therapy individually or in small group interventions.
When children and young people are going through the Education and Health Care assessment there will be evidence that, without a high level of specialist support, they would find it difficult or not be able to participate in activities, including learning, alongside their peers in a mainstream school.
In time and with support, it is expected that children and young people will be able to attend most of their mainstream lessons and take part successfully in activities in the school.