Brighton school to close

Posted On 03 Oct 2016 at 5:34 pm

A Brighton school is to close, with only three pupils due to remain on the roll in two years’ time.

Patcham House School will close in July 2018 subject to a formal consultation. It currently has 20 pupils, down from 38 two years ago.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that special students were increasingly going to mainstream schools.

Those who remained would be helped to find suitable alternative provision, the council said.

It proposed closing the school, in Old London Road, Patcham, three years ago but was persuaded against the idea at the time.

This time, the council said: “Pupil numbers have declined at the school and by July 2018 the large majority of pupils will have completed their education.

“Almost all Patcham House pupils are currently in Years 10 and 11. We will work closely with the families of very small number of pupils who are currently in Year 9 to find the best place for these children to also complete their education.”

The proposed closure is part of a wider reorganisation of education and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Patcham House School

Patcham House School

Members of the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee were told this afternoon (Monday 3 October) that the proposed closure should not be seen as a spending cut although they should generate annual savings of about £700,000.

They were told by a senior council official, Regan Delf, said that the proposed changes were designed to enable the money to be shared more fairly and effectively.

She said: “Parents and staff understandably have anxieties. All the provision we have in the city is either or good or outstanding so we have to persuade parents we are taking them someone better.”

She added that the changes were also being proposed in the context of a new duty on the council to care for young people with special needs up to 25 years old.

As part of the wider package of proposals, Hillside Special School will merge with Downs Park Special School to form an integrated “west” hub – one of three new hubs. Children with the greatest needs will be able to start at the two schools at the age of two from next September.

Downs View Special School, rated outstanding by Ofsted last term, will merge with the Cedar Centre Special School to form an integrated “east” hub.

Homewood College, the Brighton and Hove Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and the Connected Hub will be reorganised to form an integrated “central” hub made up of one school and one PRU. The school and PRU will be separate organisations but will have a “unified leadership, management and governance structure”.

The council said: “The recommendations also propose the creation of a new special facility, based in a mainstream school, with an intake of about 20 pupils.

“The council is currently seeking expressions of interest for this new facility which would add to the places available for inclusive special education already available at the popular Swan Centre at BACA (Brighton Aldridge Community Academy) and Phoenix Centre at Hove Park School.”

The reorganisation affects about 430 pupils – and the consultation will run until Friday 2 December.

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