Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Plans have been announced, that will see Stoke on Trent's Special Schools tranformed into Centres of Excellence, for youngsters with a range of special needs. I am sure, many people across the City will welcome this move.

The plans include, merging two schools together, Middlehurst in Chell, and Heathfield in Chell Heath, to help tackle a fall in pupil numbers. Initially, they will operate from the two existing sites, but eventually will be brought onto the Middlehurst site.

The plans will go out to consultation and include:

Merging Middlehurst in Chell, and Heathfield in Chell Heath, to create a school specialising in a range of severe to moderate learning difficulties. This amalgamation could happen in September 2010.

Refurbishing Abbey Hill School in Bucknall, and turning it into the City's main school for children with communication and interaction problems, including autism.

Relocating Kemball School from Fenton to a new building in September 2012. The proposed site could be somewhere near to Blurton High. Kemball would specialise in supporting youngsters with profound, sensory or physical needs.

Refurbishing Aynsley School in Blythe Bridge, and transforming it into a school specialising in educating pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. This would be done from September 2009.

To create a base in Trent Vale, which will offer flexible learning opportunities to 14-16 year olds who have behavioural problems.

I for one think this is a positive step forward for the City, and hopefully, the new buildings will provide a better environment, for the young people, who rely on these much needed facilities. What do you think?


brooneyes said...

After all the crap the education
system of this city has taken from these people, you think we should be glad to have them interfering with the special schools?! Anyway, I thought they promised not to mess with specialised education?
How can there be a fall in pupil numbers when houses are being given to immigrants who have all got kids, and the city has a housing wating list of over 12,000!
Why do they want to combine these two schools, that horrible little b*stard got a buyer for one of the plots of land?
We need more schools not less, this is just another land deal for the city council.

anon1 said...

the quote that 'falling rolls' are to blame for having to merge two special schools - you try to get a place, and all you are told is there is no places available!
but at least it is not the stupid ideas they had last time

Craig Pond Fan Club said...

Aaargh (in a very angry way) !!! We blame immigrants for all of this.

tim mullen said...

Speaking from direct personal experience, and for once from a totally non-party political standpoint, the reason there are falling rolls at special schools is that the City Council is successfully doing what should have been done many years ago, and that is integrating as many disabled children as possible into mainstream education.

I only wish that I had had that opportunity.

nita said...

At the moment we have youngsters who are having to travel out of the area, as they are unable to gain a place, in our Special Schools, that meet their needs. Surely, these new plans will mean that extra places will be available?

tim mullen said...

Yes and no Nita; ever since Stoke became a Unitary Authority there has been some sharing of educational facilities (Aynsley for example) because the number of students requiring the specialist provision that those schools provide in the North of the County wouldn't justify two schools.

There are two other examples: Horton Lodge has provided the pioneering Conductive Education (especially relevant for children with Cerebral Palsy) for over 30 years (since my time there!) and has worldwide expertise. It was also recognised a few years ago that there was a surplus of Secondary Education places for children with a physical disability, and so 11-16 attend Blackfriars in Newcastle, which (Trentham parents are going to love me) is in a partnership with Newhouse in Abbey Hulton which provides 16-18 education.

It should be the Council's guiding princple however that, wherever possible, children with special needs be educated in a mainstream school.

nita said...

Tim, I'll be honest I don't really know a great deal about the individual Special Schools across the City. What bit I do, is, that people have been unable to get places within the City, and are having to send their children to places as far as Warrington.

Hopefully, under these new plans, more places will be made available, so that every child can be placed within the City.

Yes, I agree, that children should be, if possible educated in a mainstream school. However, this is not always helpful to the individual. Some children simply cannot cope in such a large environment.

tim mullen said...

I agree mainstream education is not for all children Nita - but one of the positive proposals in this group is to resite Kemball next to Blurton High so that, if the two schools work together, there will be interaction between the two.

I've not heard of people having to go as far as Warrington - that may be because there is sometimes very specialist provision required, and only a limited number of schools in the country provide it.

There is also a historic lack of provision for post-16 education (I had to go to Coventry, and many of my contemporaries went to Cheltenham) although the Newhouse/Blackfriars merger has eased that problem.

Anonymous said...

although not an authority on the school situation I have worked with people who have needed specialist help (day centres, residential homes)and agree that all youngsters need to be integrated wherever possible, there should not be labels on people just because they may be different,young children would accept far more easily if disabled children were in mainstream schools and would grow into, hopefully, more understanding, tolerant and respectful adults having dealt with different issues that they may not of been aware of or have even understood if they do not equally work alongside each other

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