Two special needs schools in Warwick could merge under new plans

Two special needs schools in Warwick could be merged under new plans.

Warwickshire County Council have revealed proposals for Round Oak School and Ridgeway School to amalgamate and become an 'all through' special school catering for children aged three to 19 years.

In these plans it would mean that Round Oak as an organisation would close and Ridgeway would expand its age range to create one school over both school sites.

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The council has said that the reasons behind these plans is because 'there is an increased demand for special school places in the area' and the at the council 'forecasts that an additional 78 places will be needed in the Leamington/Warwick area by academic year 2022/2023.'

Plans to merge two special schools in Warwick have been revealed.

When choosing which school to close the council said that 'the stability of the leadership at Ridgeway School and the fact that Round Oak has an Interim Executive Board (IEB) and Interim Headteacher made this the preferred proposal.'

Ian Pavey, Chair of Governors at Ridgeway and Chair of the IEB at Round Oak, said: "This is a powerful and bold vision by Warwickshire County Council for children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Central Warwickshire.

"The proposal addresses the need to expand special provision to ensure that every child and young adult with SEND is able to access the very best education that meets their specific learning requirements within their local community.

"The proposal to amalgamate Ridgeway and Round Oak into one all-through school will establish a continuity and consistency of local SEND education throughout the children's time at school.

Ridgeway School in Warwick. Photo by Google Street View

"One school over two sites will also provide for a smoother and less traumatic transition between phases of education, flexibility in the use of facilities across the two sites, and a single vision and ethos under one governing board, headteacher and senior management team.

"Both schools are fortunate to have incredibly talented and committed teachers and support staff. This is an opportunity for them to share good practice, deliver a creative and innovative curriculum and create clear learning pathways that prepare our very special children and young adults for life after school."

Cllr Colin Hayfield, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for education and learning, said: “The consultation will lay out our plans for increasing capacity for children and young people with SEND in the central Warwick region.

“These are really positive plans. Besides increasing our resilience and reducing the need for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) to travel outside the county, it will mean an all-through school for the students of Round Oak and Ridgeway.

Round Oak School in Warwick. Photo by Google Street View

"Again, this is the preferable option for the young people. Moving from primary to secondary school can be a very traumatic experience and all-through schools can significantly reduce the effect of this.

“There is a real benefit to the merged school in having two buildings, both of which can be used flexibly depending upon need, enabling us to keep disruption to individual children to an absolute minimum.”

The plans are currently going through an initial consultation until March 1.

Once the plans have gone through the process, which could include a formal consultation, it is hoped the merger would be completed in time for September 1.

School staff, parents, guardians and members of the community are being invited to submit their views on the merger plans by emailing: [email protected]