Brighton and Hove special schools to take children from 2 years old

Posted On 29 Dec 2016 at 7:25 pm

Two special schools in Brighton and Hove are to take children from as young as two years old, subject to agreement from councillors.

The starting age would be lowered at Hillside special school in Portslade and Downs View special school in Woodingdean.

At Hillside the age range is currently 4 to 16 years old and at Downs View it is 3 to 19 years old. The leaving age will stay the same.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that the proposals were “aimed at improving educational opportunities for the small number of very young children with the most severe and complex special educational needs in the city”.

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The council said: “Both schools cater for children with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

“The changes proposed would lead to comparable opportunities in both the east and the west of the city for children with these needs in this age range.

Councillor Tom Bewick

Councillor Tom Bewick

“In addition the council is taking forward plans to develop an integrated nursery for children with less severe and complex needs which would offer all the specialist support needed on a mainstream nursery site.

“Once the site is agreed, it is hoped the new provision will be open by September 2018.

“The current lack of equivalent opportunities within the city has sometimes led to requests from parents for costly places in independent schools which are some distance from the city.

“The proposals follow consultation conducted by Brighton and Hove City Council that showed 70 per cent of respondents in favour of the changes.

“The council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee will consider the proposals when it meets on Monday 9 January 2017.”

Committee chairman Councillor Tom Bewick said: “We want to enable more very young children with special educational needs to be educated closer to home.

“These proposals would mean fewer long-distance taxi rides for the small number of our very young children with the most severe and complex needs, with more choice and less inconvenience for their parents.

“They would lead to a more effective use of the council’s resources and local parents have made it clear that they would welcome such a change.”

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