Provision for children with Additional and Complex Learning Needs to be increased


Children and young people with additional and complex learning Needs are set to benefit from increased provision across the city, following a review of the sector which recommended establishing additional places.

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet have agreed the plans which will aim to meet increasing demand for Specialist Resource Base and Special School places for primary, secondary and post-16 age learners with complex learning needs and autism.

They include:

· Increase the designated number of Meadowbank Special School from 40 to 98 from September 2022.

·  Increase the designated number of the Specialist Resource Base for children with severe and complex learning needs at Marlborough Primary School from 20 to 30 places from September 2022.

·  Increase the designated number of the Specialist Resource Base for children with Autism Spectrum Condition at Springwood Primary School from 20 to 28 places from September 2022.

·  To enable the Cabinet to consider the proposal by the Governing Body of the Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales (CiW) High School to: Increase the designated number at The Marion Centre Specialist Resource Base from 42 to 66 places from September 2022.

·       To note the publication of a statutory notice in respect of proposals published by the Governing Body of Whitchurch High School to expand its Specialist Resource Base from 70 places to 100 places from September 2022, and future determination of the proposal.

Cllr Sarah Merry, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “The level of support, skills and facilities available in schools has increased in recent years, meaning they have become more inclusive and can effectively meet the needs of those pupils with additional learning needs.

However, pupil population growth and the increased complexity of needs of some learners, has meant that the requirement for specialist provision is greater. We are looking to significantly increase the number of available places for pupils as well as improving the standard of facilities across the city.

“Our aim is to enable schools to enhance their capacity, so that they can be inclusive of all pupils, and that an innovative curriculum can be delivered paying attention to accessibility to health and wellbeing for learners with additional and complex learning needs.”

The report explained the reasons for the increase in demand for special educational needs provision in Cardiff, including the increased occurrence and identification of specific needs, such as Complex Learning Needs including Autism Spectrum Condition.

Because there are not enough places in Cardiff to meet demand, the Council spent £7.3m in 2020-21 funding places at special schools in other council areas or in independent schools.

One objection to the proposals was raised relating to the increased designated number at The Marion Centre Specialist Resource Base, located at Bishop of Llandaff High School. This was about the impact that additional spaces could have on traffic and parking in the area.

The report states that the school is working with the Council on a series of mitigation measures to address any increased congestion issues.