The Beacon Satellite Provision
PROPOSAL TO ADD A 240 PLACE SATELLITE PROVISION OF THE BEACON FOLKESTONE AT THE FORMER WALMER SCIENCE COLLEGE AND TO INCREASE THE DESIGNATED NUMBER OF THE BEACON FOLKESTONE 620 PLACES
Kent County Council (KCC) is proposing to add a 240 place satellite provision of The Beacon Folkestone at the former Walmer Science College, thereby increasing the designated number of The Beacon Folkestone to 620 places
David Adams, Area Education Officer South Kent, Kroner House, Eurogate Business Park, Thomson Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 8XU, or email email@example.com
School and LA details and pupil numbers
The Beacon School Folkestone is a maintained special school designated to support 380 pupils with Profound, Severe and Complex Needs (PSCN).
Presently the School works across two sites: the main site in Park Farm Road, Folkestone and a small 10 place satellite provision hosted by Castle Hill Primary School also in Folkestone.
Description of the alteration and evidence of demand
Across Kent, the number of pupils with an EHCP has increased significantly. Figure 1 shows that, as of January 2015, there were 7,374 pupils aged between 0-25 years of age with an EHCP, by January 2019 the number had increased to 11,763, an increase of 60%. There have been significant increases across all need types but particularly for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs, Speech, Language & Communication Needs and Moderate Learning Difficulties. The increase in the number of pupils with an ECHP is having an impact on the need for places within our special schools and the SRPs within mainstream schools. This is being particularly felt within our schools designated as PSCN, such as The Beacon Folkestone, which provide for pupils that have more than one need type.
Access to a maintained special school place in Dover is limited by the fact that the two special schools in the District, The Elms and Portal House, both cater for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH). There is no special school designated to cater for PSCN; Dover and Dartford being the only 2 of the 12 districts in Kent not to have such a facility.
Dover District has two specialist resourced provisions (SRPs) designated for pupils with PSCN at Whitfield Aspen Primary School and at Dover Christ Church Academy. To support the increasing need for specialist places for pupils with PSCN within the District, particularly in the primary sector, the designated number of places available at Whitfield Aspen Primary School has grown from 58 in 2014 to 112 in 2019. However, this is clearly still not sufficient, as at January 2020 there were 128 pupils on roll in the SRP. The designated number at Dover Christ Church Academy is 40 and presently there are 54 pupils on roll. As pupils leave the primary sector there are insufficient local specialist places and pupils have to travel out of the District to receive appropriate support. This has become an increasing issue as larger primary school rolls enter the secondary sector. Opening a satellite of the Beacon at the Walmer site will go some way to ensuring there is sufficient specialist provision for pupils with PSCN within Dover district.
A public consultation was held between 06 January and 14 February 2020. This consultation proposed that the satellite should add 168 places which would be 1FE of primary places and 2FE at secondary. During the consultation comments were received suggesting that the satellite should provide for 2FE primary and secondary provision, a total of 240 places. The Children’s, Young People Cabinet Committee resolved that this should be the case and the proposal was changed accordingly.
Objectives (and how the wider proposal would increase educational standards and parental choice)
The aim of the proposal is to increase the number of specialist PSCN places available in Dover District particularly for pupils with ASD as one of their need types.
The Beacon Folkestone is an OFSTED Outstanding special school. The satellite provision will increase the number of high-quality specialist places in Dover District particularly for pupils with ASD and/or moderate/ severe learning difficulties. It will increase the choice provision for parents and will reduce the number of pupils needing to travel out of the District to access specialist provision.
In addition, mainstream schools in the District will be able to access the expertise of The Beacon Folkestone Staff, enabling them to better support pupils presently on roll in their schools.
Should the proposal go ahead, we plan to deliver the satellite in phases with the first phase being opened for September 2020.
Phase one would see complete refurbishment of the Compass Centre, to provide an Early Years and Key Stage One block with outdoor play space. In addition, further enabling works such as: a drop off and pick up area, car parking for staff, visitors and taxis/minibuses and the removal of one of the older disused buildings known as the ROSLA building will take place.
The effect on other schools, academies and educational institutions within the area
The additional places provided by the satellite provision will, over time, reduce the pressure for specialist ASD provision in the two local SRPs. This in turn will open up additional PSCN provision for pupils with other need types that can be supported by the SRPs, reducing the need for pupils to travel out of the District to gain appropriate specialist placements.
Impact on the community
The proposed satellite will have a positive impact on the type and availability of specialist provision available to families in the community.
The location for the satellite school was formally a secondary school for 900 pupils which closed in 2018. The reopening of the school will increase the traffic in the area at the start and end of the School day, but this is not expected to be at the levels seen when the provision was a secondary school.
A public consultation was held between 06 January 2020 and 14 February 2020. Of the 24 responses received, 24 were in favour of the proposals.
A public meeting was also held on 30 January 2020, 9 people attended the meeting.
Project costs and indication of how these will be met, including how long term value for money will be achieved.
The refurbishment of the existing buildings will be a significant reduction in the capital outlay compared to that needed for a new build.
Capital funding of £4,000,000, to meet the estimated costs, has been agreed towards the project of which £3,000,000 would be from the second tranche of the Government’s Special Provision Capital Fund.
Should the project be approved more detailed plans for the further phases of the build will be drawn up with the final capital cost being shared with the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills prior to a final decision being made and published.
The procedure for responses: support; objections and comments
A public notice was published in a local newspaper in the week beginning 20 April 2020. The notice is displayed at all main entrances to the School and it is available on KCC’s website: https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/school-consultations
Within four weeks from the date of publication, any person may send in a response supporting, objecting or commenting on the proposal to David Adams, Area Education Officer, Kroner House, Eurogate Business Park, Ashford, Kent TN24 8XU; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The final date for sending in written representations is midnight 18 May 2020.