Closure planned for residential unit at Mansfield school which caters for children with special educational needs

Nottinghamshire County Council have announced proposals to close a residential unit at a Mansfield school which caters for physically disabled or sensory-impaired children.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 7:00 am

The proposal outlines plans to close the residential facilities at Fountaindale School on Nottingham Road.

The residential unit is adapted to meet the physical needs of children and young people, and provides residential care during term time for pupils aged 14 to 18 years.

The primary focus of the service is to promote independence and improve social skills.

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Fountaindale School, Mansfield.

The consultation document from Nottinghamshire County Council states: “It is proposed to close the residential facilities at Fountaindale School with a view to increasing the space available for pupils to attend a special school in the Mansfield locality.

"The demand for special school places in the county remains a challenge, this proposal will allow over the medium to long term an increase in specialist provision available to families, primarily in the Mansfield locality.

"There will likely be some minimal costs involved in altering the use of the residential facilities to classroom provision.”

Councillor Philip Owen, Chairman of the Nottinghamshire County Council’s children and young people’s committee said “Fountaindale School is Nottinghamshire’s only Special School to have a residential offer for its pupils which is funded from the County Council’s High Need Block (HNB) budget. This HNB budget is used to fund the county’s educational provision for all children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Over the past few years, this budget has come under considerable pressure due to the increasing numbers of children and young people with SEN.

One of the residential rooms at the unit which is set to close under new proposals.

“The school’s residential unit historically provided a ten night overnight experience for up to four young people at a time as part of the school’s curriculum to develop independence at an annual cost of £116,000. Following an Ofsted Inspection in February which identified a number of concerns including ‘safeguarding practices’ being ‘not good enough’ and ‘the school did not meet several of the national minimum standards for residential Special Schools’. As a result the unit has remained closed to school pupils since March 2020.

Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal can do so in the following ways:

By post to Fountaindale School, Nottingham Road, Harlow Wood, Mansfield, NG18 5BA marked ‘Statutory Proposal – Residential Provision’.

By email to [email protected] with the subject title: ‘Statutory Proposal – Residential Provision’.

Fountaindale School

Any comments received later than 4pm on November 3 will not be included for consideration.

The consultation will close on November 3 and a final decision will be made by Nottinghamshire County Council councillors at the meeting of the Children and Young People’s Committee on November 30.

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