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Consultation on plans for new SEND provision in Northampton

Specialist SEND support services

22 June 2023

Child's drawing of child standing up and child in a wheelchair

Residents are being encouraged to give their views on the second phase of a scheme to provide more places for children with special educational needs (SEND) in Northampton.

Consultation starts today on part of the Hunsbury SEND provision, to operate from Chiltern Primary school instead of the original plans for the unit to operate on the Hunsbury Park site from September 2023.  The provision caters for primary age pupils who are in receipt of an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) with a primary need of Autistic Spectrum Disabilities (ASD).

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) originally established plans for a 50 place SEND Unit to be created at Hunsbury Park Primary School in two phases. Phase 1 caters for children in Key Stage 1 classes – Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Phase 2 will cater for children in Key Stage 2 classes – Years 3 to 6.

In November last year, under Phase 1 of the project, a specialist unit creating 20 new places for key stage 1 children with ASD and Educational Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) was opened at Hunsbury Park Primary School. However, due to construction constraints and a delayed delivery date, the remaining provision of 30 places for Phase 2 cannot be accommodated on the same site.

As a result, WNC has explored alternative options with sufficient spare accommodation having been identified at Chiltern Primary School, Northampton. The unit at Chiltern Primary, which will cater for children in Key Stage 2, Years 3 to 6, will continue to be operated by Hunsbury Park Primary School and their specialist SEND staff, with plans to open fully from 3 October 2023.

The additional 30 places will be achieved via the refurbishment of existing classrooms to provide a modern and fit for purpose teaching environment for new pupils. The scheme will also provide further bespoke outdoor learning facilities and dedicated specialist areas such as new hygiene rooms. The accommodation at Chiltern will also allow for an additional 15 places to be created from September 2024, taking the total number of places delivered under Phase 2 to 45.

Relocating Phase 2 to Chiltern primary will also enable a further 10 places to be created on the Hunsbury site as part of the first phase of work due to be completed in January 2024. Overall, this will result in a total of 75 much needed new places being created during both phases – 25 above the original plans.

The Council is liaising closely with the schools and affected families who have been made aware the proposals.

This proposal forms part of wider plans for Hunsbury Park Primary and Chiltern Primary to work more closely together in order to improve outcomes overall. Known as a ‘soft federation’ the arrangements will allow both schools to carry out some functions jointly, such as through joint committees and joint board meetings, with a focus on effective collaboration improving key strategic areas. The local authority is supportive of this measure to protect and strengthen LA maintained schools.

Under this proposal, an executive leadership model will be implemented with Dan York, current headteacher at Hunsbury Park Primary, acting as the new executive headteacher (subject to final agreement). Dan will take a strategic role in both schools with an overarching statutory responsibility of leading the school’s day to day activities in each school and overseeing the SEND provision on both sites.

We are continuing to see a huge increase in demand for SEND places in West Northamptonshire and we know we need to act fast to provide the support to children, young people and their families.

The proposal to move phase two of the Hunsbury Park Primary SEND provision, to the Chiltern Primary School site helps to address this need, providing additional places in a faster timeframe whilst under the same leadership, ensuring quality of education and learning is maintained.

This proposal is part of our ongoing plans and commitment to address the challenges we are seeing in our SEND provision as we continue on our improvement journey to provide better access and quality to our education, learning and facilities.
Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Families, Children, Education and Skills

The unit will continue to be operated by Hunsbury Park Primary School and their specialist SEND staff, with the combined funding for both schools at £2 million, delivering 75 much needed ASD places for children and young people in West Northamptonshire.

This proposal forms part of a wider programme of works that aims to deliver up to 600 new SEND places across West Northants by September 2025.

Find out more about the consultation and share your views on our Consultation Hub

The deadline for comments is 19 July 2023

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