Background and Rationale for Thomas Bewick School
The Trustees of Prosper Learning Trust and the Local Governing Body of Thomas Bewick School are consulting on the creation of additional places for Thomas Bewick School to meet immediate and longer term need for ASD pupils from September 2020. Following a comprehensive review and options appraisal by the Local Authority the recommendation is to achieve this through establishing a satellite provision at Broadwood Primary School.
Prosper Learning Trust is committed to working with Newcastle City Council to ensure there are sufficient special school places for pupils whose needs mean they require more targeted or intensive support or tailored educational provision. This consultation is focused on the immediate need for places of early years and primary ASD places in specialist provision. Thomas Bewick is the key provision in the city for these learners.
Thomas Bewick School is highly regarded for delivering high quality teaching and learning for ASD pupils. The intention is to build on this good reputation and provide this expertise to a growing number of pupils across the City by creating additional specialist places for children with complex and profound needs associated with ASD.
Background and Rationale for Broadwood Primary School
The Governors of Broadwood Primary School and the Trustees of the WEST Trust are consulting on providing the accommodation to Thomas Bewick School to enable their proposed increase in numbers as stated in the above rationale. Broadwood has the benefit of vast indoor and outdoor space. However, given that a sizable portion of the premises is unoccupied this does have some negative connotations. The children are presented with a vacant, quiet, dull area. Having this occupied would bring a vibrancy to the school premises.
We anticipate that the occupancy of the site by Thomas Bewick will enhance the school community. Although both schools will remain very much separate in their occupation welcoming Thomas Bewick to the site embraces inclusion.
There will be sharing of many financial commitments across the building and therefore this will bring additional funding to Broadwood School to enable the school to invest further in teaching and learning and the environments.
ASD growth in Newcastle
Published data on long-term historical trends shows there has been a continuous increase in the proportion of the pupil population with ASD in Newcastle schools since 2010. More recently (from 2017) the number and proportion of pupils with autism in Newcastle’s primary schools has increased sharply compared with previous years.
The number of children in Newcastle schools who have ASD identified as their primary need has increased substantially over recent years, rising from 213 in 2010 to 676 in 2019. The number who require specialist provision to meet their needs has also increased significantly and is expected to continue to do so.
Thomas Bewick School is designated as a special school for children and young people with autism and pervasive development disorders and for pupils whose needs can be met in an autism specific environment. The school provides for pupils at the more complex end of the autism spectrum.
The increase in both the diagnosis and incidence of autism means that current accommodation at Thomas Bewick will be insufficient to meet predicted future needs. Additional places will be needed for September 2020, particularly for younger pupils.
Newcastle City Council carried out a review of local SEND priorities that commenced in summer 2019 in the form of two stakeholder consultations. Analysis of consultation responses suggested that there are not sufficient specialist places, or specialist expertise within mainstream provision to meet the growth in demand, and also that placing young children with emerging and complex needs into mainstream schools is not proving sustainable.
In Newcastle, the proportion of children with autism in primary age provision has risen from 4.4% of the total primary SEND population in January 2010 to 7.8% in 2019. The proportion of pupils in special schools in Newcastle whose primary need is ASD has almost doubled since 2010 (rising from 15.5% to 28.7%).
ASD places in specialist provision required for September 2020
In total, there is a need for 257 (251 fte) places in Thomas Bewick School for September 2020 (25 more than are on roll at present).
The numbers of pupils that can be accommodated at Thomas Bewick is dependent upon the complexity of the individual needs of pupils. For pupils with more complex needs, more space (and therefore smaller class sizes) are required.
In order to meet the increased demand for ASD places at Thomas Bewick School an option for potential satellite provision has been explored. For Newcastle City Council it is also essential that they ensure the best use of existing capacity and resources across the city are being utilised. A capacity review has been undertaken within Thomas Bewick School, which has captured how the current accommodation in the school is being utilised; how timetabling of the curriculum and room
use is planned, and to identify opportunities for enhanced use of space within the existing premises.
The numbers of pupils that can be accommodated at Thomas Bewick is dependent upon the complexity of the individual needs of pupils and also their ages (space required for secondary age pupils is greater than that for primary). For pupils with more complex needs, more space (and therefore smaller classes) are required – thus reducing the overall capacity of the school. Thomas Bewick identifies that the majority of their pupils are on the severe end of the autistic spectrum.
Places within Thomas Bewick School have risen year-on-year since 2006 to meet the growing demand for specialist places for pupils with ASD. The number of ASD primary age pupils in Thomas Bewick has almost doubled since 2013/14 and secondary age pupils have increased by 57% over the same period. Overall, the numbers of children and young people in Thomas Bewick between Reception and Year 14 has increased by 72% (from 127 to 219) since 2013/14.
Another factor for increasing places at Thomas Bewick is that for ASD pupils placed in an environment within which they are not prospering (e.g. mainstream settings), this may result in secondary issues relating to their Social, Emotional or Mental Health (SEMH).
Looking at Thomas Bewick pupil data over recent years, it has been illustrated that the numbers of ASD pupils in the primary age group have already exceeded Thomas Bewick’s primary age capacity, and their progression into secondary provision would fill the places currently available by 2022/23. This is before taking any increased levels of demand into account.
The newly developed LA SEND forecasting model suggests there may be between 26 and 36 additional primary age ASD pupils with an EHCP in the academic year 2020/21 (compared to the numbers on roll in the January 2020 School Census). The model also suggests that there may be 21 additional secondary age pupils with ASD and an EHCP in 2020/21.
Rationale for use of Broadwood Primary School for Thomas Bewick School satellite provision
- This school is in large premises with spare capacity which the school are interested in sharing with another provider.
- There are 5 classrooms in total, which could be occupied by Thomas Bewick. This would allow for 4 classrooms accommodating 8 pupils (Reception and Year 1), and 1 early years classroom accommodating 6 part-time nursery children (both morning and afternoon).
- There are 2 further rooms, one of which could be used for group work (up to 4 pupils) and a sensory room (for 4 pupils). Use of the Hall and Dining Room would be on a timetabled basis.
- The building is in good condition with new facilities (new kitchen, new heating system), which could support both primary school and new ASD provision.
- As the premises were originally split into two schools, there are two access routes into the school, one of which could be dedicated for use by Thomas Bewick.
- The required capital works can be carried out rapidly and Thomas Bewick will be able to occupy the space in time for new places to be available from September 2020.
- Broadwood Primary School is very close to the main Thomas Bewick Site, with good road links.
- Separate vehicular and pedestrian access into building.
- The school has substantial playing fields around it and also backs onto Denton Dene, a large area of wooded green space, which both the primary school and Thomas Bewick pupils might utilise as part of their curriculum.
This consultation will be shared with current and potential stakeholders:
- Parents/carers at Thomas Bewick School and Broadwood Primary School
- Staff at Thomas Bewick School and Broadwood Primary School
- Trustees and governors at Prosper Learning Trust and the West End Schools Trust (WEST)
- Trade Unions
- Newcastle City Council
- Local community
The consultation will run from Monday 22nd June 2020 to Sunday 2nd August 2020. Any feedback or queries in relation to this consultation should be emailed to email@example.com and should note “Thomas Bewick/Broadwood Consultation” in the subject line or posted to:
Prosper Learning Trust, Thomas Bewick School, Linhope Road, West Denton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 2LW. Please use the attached form.