Emersons Green Resource Base closure plan dropped by South Gloucestershire Council
SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has shelved plans to shut the Resource Base at Emersons Green Primary School.
The specialist centre, which enables disabled children to learn alongside mainstream pupils, would have been "phased out" after its current pupils left under a proposal made as part of a review into special educational needs and disabilities provision by the council.
Parents were outraged at the prospect of closing the resource base and staged protests, with a petition calling for it to be saved signed by 6,218 people.
Today the council's cabinet member for schools, skills and employment, Erica Williams, issued a statement which said the closure of the resource base would no longer be included in the SEND strategy proposals.
A council spokesperson confirmed to the Voice that this means the resource base will stay open for the foreseeable future.
The resource base at Emersons Green Primary School caters for 12 children aged from 4 to 11 with physical disabilities or visual impairment, giving them extra support and facilities while they have lessons and play with other children attending the school.
Cllr Williams said: "It is clear that we...need to give further consideration to any phasing out of the Resource Base at Emersons Green Primary School. As a result, we will not be including this change in the proposals that will be taken forward to formal public consultation."
Her full statement, released this afternoon, said: "In order to develop our specialist provision for children and young people with Special Education Needs across South Gloucestershire, over the past few months we have been engaging with parents, carers, young people and schools to discuss possible options to make changes to Resource Bases and Access Centres. Our priorities for this work are to improve access and to focus on broadening inclusion within all children’s local schools. We must also respond to increasing demand for specialist help and address inequalities in relation to financial arrangements.
“Following these discussions, we have given further consideration to the initial, outline proposals we shared with schools earlier this year. The feedback we received through the engagement was extremely helpful in shaping how we intend to move forward and I would like to thank the award-winning South Glos Parents & Carers organisation for helping us with this.
“Although the feedback we received was supportive of changes to increase the number of places across the district, it is clear that we also need to give further consideration to any phasing out of the Resource Base at Emersons Green Primary School. As a result, we will not be including this change in the proposals that will be taken forward to formal public consultation. We will be working in partnership with all schools to develop a sustainable approach to meeting children and young people’s needs in order to improve access and ensure equity in our arrangements to meeting need across the local area.
“We remain highly ambitious for every child and young person in South Gloucestershire to fulfil their potential and are backing this with record funding. We are committed to developing our local offer to deliver effective provision for children and young people with Special Education Needs across South Gloucestershire and will be releasing details of a revised timeline for public consultation on all proposed changes before Christmas.”
Picture: Parents, children and staff were among those who marched through driving rain from Emersons Green Primary School to a consultation meeting to show their support for the resource base on September 30.