Garratt Park and Chartfield plans approved
as Garratt Parks gets £1.5m investment it seals the fate of Chartfield School to closure
The council has won the go ahead to expand Garratt Park special school following last night's meeting of the schools organisation committee (SOC).
The independent body comprises headteachers, governors, councillors and representatives from faith groups and the learning and skills council.
The SOC approved the council's plans to invest £1.5m in new facilities at Garratt Park. It also backed a proposal to close Chartfield School.
The council is about to start consultation to use the Chartfield site for new provision for primary age children with a range of learning difficulties and autistic disorders. The council will invest £2m to provide specialist facilities at the site.
Garratt Park will enable it to meet the needs of children with mild and
moderate learning difficulties who have additional needs including autism,
social and communication needs, severe dyslexia or dyspraxia and emotional
roll has fallen as it caters for children with a range of less complex
Chartfield currently has 79 pupils out of a potential school roll of 100 which is expected to fall further. The school does not admit children with more severe and complex needs. This is a key requirement of the DfES Special Schools Working Group which has been examining the future of special schools.
What will happen at Garratt Park?
Garratt Park will now host a new boroughwide service aimed at helping secondary schools respond to growing demand from parents of children with a statement of special needs for a mainstream education.
A team of up to six specialist teachers will work with the increasing number of pupils coming into secondary education whose needs fall within the autistic spectrum (ASD) or have social, communication and language difficulties.
Three in four pupils with a new statement of educational need (SEN) now attend a mainstream school in the borough (up from 59 per cent five years ago).
Cabinet member for education Malcolm Grimston said:
"The council is investing more than £9 million in its special schools as part of a drive to improve educational opportunities for children with special educational needs.
"More parents today are choosing a mainstream education for their child. We have a duty to ensure that the right support is available to pupils attending those schools.
"At the same time there are a growing number of children whose needs are too challenging even for the local special schools we have. The changes to Garratt Park and Chartfield are part of a long term plan which will equip all our schools to meet these challenges.
"I understand that the decision to close Chartfield in its present form will disappoint many people. This is no reflection on the quality of education at the school. The pattern of needs for children with special educational needs is changing and we have to be ready to respond."
The changes to Garratt Park School will take effect from September 2005. Chartfield will close in August 2006.
For more information on planning for inclusion visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/education/sen
May 25, 2004