Parents, teachers and residents can have their say on plans to expand St Giles School to include a nursery, offering children with profound and multiple learning difficulties a clearer pathway into the school.
The proposals would see the South Croydon school accept children aged two to 19 instead of four to 19, from the start of the next academic year, which would involve management of the specialist nursery class Crosfield Rainbow Group transferring to St Giles School.
The nursery is one of three specialist sites in Croydon offering early years special education for children with a range of complex additional needs. The proposed expansion of St Giles School is part of the wider SEND Strategy to ensure there is enough specialist provision for Croydon’s residents in their home borough.
Last year the council approved a new SEND strategy for children and young people, setting out how they will be supported from the earliest possible stage, into adulthood, focusing on their well-being and attainment, and building on their strengths through education, health and care.
The council is working in partnership with the Department for Education to create a new special free school for children with autism and learning difficulties (Addington Valley Academy) due to open in September. Funding of £150,000 has been allocated to Meridian High School and Castle Hill Academy to increase places and improve facilities available for children with autistic spectrum disorders.
The council has also invested £19m in a new building for St Nicholas School, with increased places for primary aged children with learning difficulties, speech, language and communication needs and autism.
The work will ensure children with additional needs can have a school space in Croydon. A consultation on the expansion of St Giles School is now under way with everyone welcome to share their views.
Staff at the school, as well as parents and carers and other key stakeholders are being contacted separately to ensure they have an opportunity to respond to the survey.
“We want all our young people to thrive and reach their full potential and expanding St Giles School to offer nursery support will give more options for parents of children with additional needs in our borough.
“We are working hard to try and make sure all the borough’s young people are given the best possible opportunities including the chance to attend the best school for them.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning