This paper can be downloaded from the Council website: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/sen/consultations
Why are these changes being proposed?
Co-location of Greenmead and Ronald Ross Schools
Development of Paddock School
What other options have been considered?
Timescales for the building programme on the Ronald Ross site and the adaptations to St. Margaret’s Crescent
WANDSWORTH BOROUGH COUNCIL
The Council needs to take action to make sure that it can provide sufficient school places for the growing number of Wandsworth children with severe and complex special educational needs (SEN). It is proposed to provide additional places through expanding Paddock School and relocating Greenmead School to share a site with Ronald Ross School.
The proposals will result in completely new school buildings for Ronald Ross and Greenmead Schools and the opportunity for Paddock School to expand across the site it currently shares with Greenmead School. This paper is seeking your views on these proposals, explains why these changes are being suggested and tells you how you can give your views.
Proposals relating to Greenmead, Paddock and Ronald Ross Schools
Greenmead is a day school for 72 pupils aged 2 to 11 with physical disabilities (PD), profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD) and complex needs. It is located at St. Margaret’s Crescent, SW15.
Paddock is a day school which offers 144 places for pupils aged 2 to19, plus a temporary site offering a further 24 early years places. It has a primary department for pupils with severe and complex learning difficulties, or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with moderate/severe learning difficulties located at St. Margaret’s Crescent, SW15. It also has a secondary department for pupils with severe and complex learning difficulties or an ASD with SLD located at Priory Lane, SW15. Paddock early years provision is temporarily located at Linden Lodge School, Princes Way, SW19.
Ronald Ross is a 1 Form Entry (FE) mainstream primary school. It is located at Castlecombe Drive, SW19.
To co-locate Greenmead and Ronald Ross Schools on the Ronald Ross site in Castlecombe Drive, from September 2017.
To develop a new building for Greenmead and Ronald Ross Schools on the site in Castlecombe Drive, supporting joint working between the two schools but keeping their identity as separate schools.
To expand Paddock School into the space vacated by Greenmead on the St. Margaret’s Crescent site, following completion of building adaptations in Easter 2018; and to increase the total capacity of Paddock School up to 250 pupils.
Why are these changes being proposed?
The Council needs to provide more school places for children and young people with severe and complex SEN.
There has been a significant increase in the birth rate in the borough, which has increased by about 35% since 2002 and looks likely to continue increasing until at least 2016. As a result the number of children needing specialist educational provision has also increased. Medical advances resulting in an increase in the survival rate of children born prematurely or with complex health needs, and the increased identification of children with autistic spectrum disorder have also had an impact.
Both Greenmead and Paddock have been judged outstanding by Ofsted and parents are keen to secure places for their children at the schools. These proposals will increase the number of special school places, whilst ensuring that schools are able to continue offering high quality accommodation and resources.
How many extra places are needed? Proposals have already been agreed to expand Greenmead School and increase the range of SEN at the school. Additional building work is taking place on the present site to create 2 extra classrooms and this additional accommodation should be sufficient to meet any requirements for growth. However there is a serious problem in relation to Paddock.
A temporary early years base, Little Paddock, has been opened for 24 pupils on the site of Linden Lodge School, to ensure the school can admit pupils who are reaching reception age. The temporary planning permission will expire in July 2016. It was not possible to offer any nursery places at Paddock last year. By September 2018 there is expected to be a shortfall of over 50 places plus about 15 nursery places and by 2024/25 that shortfall is expected to increase to about 90 places plus about 15 nursery places.
The Ronald Ross building is in need of major repairs.
Ronald Ross is built on a raft foundation with no piling and is maintained on the site by a large retaining wall. Over time this has resulted in structural defects to the main floor slab, as well as the external pathways and steps. The Council has commissioned a structural survey of the school which makes it clear that, whilst the building is safe, action will need to be taken in the near future to address the structural deficiencies. This is likely to cost up to
£2 million and will cause significant disruption to the school. The Council therefore considers that it will be better to rebuild Ronald Ross, providing a new school and modernising its facilities, rather than just carry out repairs. Ronald Ross has also been judged as an outstanding school by Ofsted.
Co-location of Greenmead and Ronald Ross Schools An initial feasibility study for the Ronald Ross site has shown that it would be possible to build a 1 FE primary and a special school on the site. The scheme would comprise a new single building accommodating both schools. The cost of rebuilding both schools will be in the region of £17 million.
This is an exciting opportunity to co-locate an outstanding mainstream and special school. Both schools would operate as separate schools, with their own classrooms, halls, specialist teaching areas and external play spaces. A new hydrotherapy pool for Greenmead pupils would be included. The schools could explore the opportunity to share some facilities, such as the kitchen, and possibly the reception, library and training rooms. Where they might benefit Ronald Ross pupils could also have access to the hydrotherapy pool. The external spaces around the school would be redeveloped to offer a range of different play and multi-sensory environments that would benefit all children at the schools.
Whilst Greenmead is currently well accommodated, this proposal would offer the opportunity to move to a purpose built new school, fully designed to meet the needs of Greenmead pupils. Of particular benefit would be the opportunity for flexible inclusion and interaction with mainstream pupils that would be offered at a level appropriate to each pupil, whilst ensuring that the specialist environment and facilities that Greenmead offers its pupils at present are retained.
It would provide Ronald Ross pupils with a new accessible building with completely up to date teaching and learning facilities, an education in an inclusive environment, and access to specialist knowledge and expertise in relation to SEN.
In designing the new schools it is proposed to learn from the design of special and mainstream school developments in Wandsworth and further afield, to ensure that both schools have exciting, state of the art learning environments. Both schools would be fully involved in the design of the new building, including involvement by pupils and staff.
Development of Paddock School Re-locating Greenmead would provide Paddock School with 9 additional classrooms on the St. Margaret’s Crescent site, and the potential to increase this number in the future by redeveloping parts of the Greenmead site where there are duplicate or unused facilities such as the hydrotherapy pool. This would allow the release of the temporary early years site at Linden Lodge, the reopening of the nursery and the relocation of some Key Stage 3 classes from the Paddock secondary site in Priory Lane. The Priory Lane site would then be able to focus on older pupils and their preparation for adulthood, independence and employment.
The increase in places at Paddock would be phased over a number of years so that the school could manage the expansion effectively and recruit and train additional staff.
The Council will work with Paddock and carry out a feasibility study on the St. Margaret’s Crescent site to plan its adaptation to meet the needs of Paddock pupils. It is estimated that the works will cost in the region of £500,000.
What other options have been considered? The Council has looked at a number of different options for meeting the shortage of school places for children with severe and complex SEN before making these proposals:
Developing a third site for Paddock School
There is no space on the St. Margaret’s Crescent and Priory Lane sites for any further expansion of Paddock School. It was felt that managing a school for children with complex SEN and Disabilities across 3 sites in the long term, whilst not impossible, would be complex to manage, would place significant additional burdens on senior managers and staff and add to the number of transitions between buildings for pupils. This was therefore not a preferred option.
Exploring other sites within the borough to develop specialist places
The Council did a series of studies to identify suitable sites for development of additional specialist places. It found that there were a very limited number of sites available for a development of the size required. Potential sites already had existing specialist base provision and/or were on several floors and would be unable to offer full access for pupils with SEND. Any rebuild of Ronald Ross will ensure it is fully accessible.
Opening a new special school
Under current legislation if the Council wants to open a new school it must invite academy or free school providers to establish the school. The process for opening a new academy or free school takes time and therefore, it would be unlikely that this could be achieved in time for September 2017. There would also be the same challenge of finding a suitable site within the borough.
Buying additional places from other local authorities or independent schools
All local authorities are experiencing a similar increase in demand which means that there is huge competition for school places. Finding sufficient places in other Local Authority or independent schools would therefore be extremely difficult. There would be no guarantee that these places would meet the standards of excellence provided by Paddock. Placements in out borough schools would result in longer travelling times for the children, and the costs of both the placements and transporting the pupils would be higher.
Timescales for the building programme on the Ronald Ross site and the adaptations to St. Margaret’s Crescent During the consultation period the Council has appointed a consultant to work with Ronald Ross and Greenmead to develop a potential building scheme. If it is agreed that the proposals should go ahead a planning application would be submitted in February 2015. This will be decided separately to the consultation on the educational merits of the proposals. If planning permission is granted there would be a potential start on site from September 2015. The likely build time for the new development would be just under 2 years. The preferred option would be to undertake the construction in a single phase, providing temporary classrooms for Ronald Ross pupils. There would be close liaison between the Head and contractor over the period of the build to ensure that disruption to the running of the school was kept to a minimum.
Work to enable the Paddock pupils to use the vacated site at St. Margaret’s Crescent would take place over the summer holidays 2017 and would be completed by Easter 2018. It would be necessary to get the agreement of the Linden Lodge Governors to the Paddock early years provision remaining on site until Easter 2018 and to seek an extension to the temporary planning permission.
Consultation arrangements There are different consultation requirements for the different proposals. As the Council is proposing to increase the number of pupils at Paddock, it is necessary to publish a statutory notice. However, a notice is not required for the relocation of Greenmead (as the new location will be within 2 miles of St. Margaret’s Crescent) or the co-location with and rebuild of Ronald Ross. Since all the proposals are linked, the Council has published one consultation document for all 3 schools with an additional statutory notice and full proposal for Paddock. The consultation period will run from 2nd to the 30th October 2014. The Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Council’s Executive will consider all the responses to the consultation at their meetings on 24th November and 1st December before taking a decision whether to go ahead with the proposal.
Should the Council’s Executive decide to develop the scheme a separate planning application will be required.
Who will be consulted? This consultation paper will be circulated to:
parents, staff and governors of Greenmead, Paddock and Ronald Ross Schools;