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RCT to look at reorganising Special Needs Education

November 18, 2013 4:13 PM

RCT Cabinet this afternoon will be discussing the reorganisation of education provision for those pupils with Special Needs. In two separate agenda items they will look at the realignment of provision at Primary and Secondary school level for up to sixteen year olds, and also at providing new facilities for post sixteen students who currently have to travel out of County.

The problem at under 16 level is, the report says, that the current provision does not match need, and that some of the designated centres are historic. For instance most of those with hearing impairment are, with technological advances, now able to cope with assistance in mainstream education.

Those over 16 currently have to travel to centres outside of Rhondda Cynon Taff, which not only involves considerable cost but takes pupils out of their communities and involves them travelling some distance each day.

Some of the proposals will be met with more resistance than others, especially where they involve moving pupils away from a school in which they are currently settled. There is for example a proposal to close the special needs until at Parc Lewis and move it to Heol Y Celyn. Parents will no doubt argue that their children are settled and that such a move could be disruptive to children who thrive on routine.

The proposals will, if carried through, save money. A relatively small sum of £27,367.28 in the case of the under 16 changes, and a much more substantial figure of £277,065 per annum by bringing post 16 education 'in house' in RCT.

Whilst the savings are welcome the important thing is that the decisions are based not on the financial outcomes but on what is best for the children involved.