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Public give feedback on radical review of Additional Learning Needs Provision


A series of proposals toexpand provision for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN), Complex Learning Needs (CLN) and Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs have recently undergone public consultation and the results will be published this week. 

In one of the most comprehensive programmes of improvements to the sector in Cardiff, the Council consulted on plans to create a total of 517 new places for pupils aged between 3 and 19 at 13 different sites across the city, making provision for children with a range of additional needs, including those on the autism spectrum.

Proposals involve more than a dozen special, primary and secondary schools, offering both English and Welsh-medium education.

Cardiff's Cabinet member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: "The process, carried out between October last year and February 2022, gave everyone affected by the proposed changes a chance to have their say and it is pleasing to see so many people are in support of Cardiff's considerable plans to increase the range of options for learners with additional needs.

"This is potentially the most radical transformation of the provision of special needs education seen in Cardiff in recent years and it will dramatically improve the standard of facilities right across the city and increase the number of places available significantly," she said.

"Our plans aim to address the poor condition of some school buildings and the suitability of learning environments to ensure that our most vulnerable pupils can access specialist settings and expertise so that they can thrive in the future.

The views provided during the consultation were universally in support of the significant plans however, there were some concerns specific to the proposals to expand provision for learners with Emotional Health and Wellbeing Needs aged 11 - 19.

This initial plan looked to increase the capacity of Greenhill School from 64 to 160 place by transferring the school to new build accommodation across two sites at Ty Glas Road in Llanishen and land at the Dutch Garden Centre. 

Cllr Merry added: "Cardiff, like many areas, has seen an increase in demand in specialised education. Pupil population growth and the increased complexity of needs of some learners has meant that the requirement for specialist provision is greater and the number of pupils requiring a place in a special school or SRB continues to grow.

"This Council is committed to expanding and reorganising provision for all learners with additional needs so that they are provided with the highest quality places. We are bidding to become Wales' first UNICEF Child Friendly City - and we believe in the rights of children and and in giving them the very best opportunities in life. We hope this strategy will go some way to helping children in Cardiff reach their full potential."

Cllr Merry added, from the consultation results we recognise there have been some concerns around certain aspects of the proposals and the information gathered will now be used to shape future plans. Proposals around Greenhill School are still under review and further feasibility is to be explored. The proposals are still at an early stage and when progressed will go a long way to address that shortfall in our provision and will also help to spread the facilities right across Cardiff." said Cllr Merry.

Among the proposals planned by the Council are:

  • The closure of the outdated Court Special School site in Llanishen and the division of its facilities between new premises at; Fairwater Primary School and St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School which will move to new build accommodation at the St Edeyrns development  in 2023. This would increase spaces from 42 to 72
  • Establishing 30 new places at Willows High School in Tremorfa
  • Creating more than 40 new places at Ty Gwyn Special School in Caerau, and
  • Boosting the numbers at the Hollies Special School in Pentwyn by 60 places
  • Establishing a 20 place Specialist Resource Base at Cardiff West Community High School from September 2022
  • Establishing a 20 place Specialist Resource Base at Eastern High from September 2023.

The extensive reports into the consultation process will now be debated by the Council's Cabinet at its next meeting on Thursday, March 10.

They are available to read hereAgenda for Cabinet on Thursday, 10th March, 2022, 2.00 pm : City of Cardiff Council (