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Consultation on the expansion of School Premises at Saxon Hill Academy

Foreword

The Academy Council of Saxon Hill Academy and the Shaw Education Trust would like to hear your views on a proposal to expand the School on its site by the addition of extra classrooms.

We have secured funding from the Department for Education and are currently progressing with preliminary designs. We would therefore like to consult with parents, staff, the local community, neighboring schools and other stakeholders about this proposal.

About Saxon Hill Academy

Saxon Hill Academy is a special school that caters for students from 2 to 19 years of age. Many of the pupils have multiple learning difficulties such as physical and medical needs, behavioral, emotional and social difficulties, sensory needs or autistic spectrum disorders.

The Academy was rated Good with Outstanding features in its last Ofsted inspection in September 2013. Saxon Hill has developed an innovative curriculum that caters for the specific and varied complex needs of their pupils ranging from early years through to sixth form, and across a wide spectrum of needs from complex medical and sensory through to students who access accreditation and vocational skills. We have outstanding outcomes for significant numbers of our pupils as they are prepared for life beyond school.

The school has a highly regarded Residential Short Stay provision known as Sleepover Club. This is inspected annually by Ofsted and has been graded as Outstanding every year for the past seven years, and Outstanding in all categories for the last three years. The annual residential inspection includes whole school elements.  The Sleepover club pupils make use of school resources during the evening – but these are now limited by the loss of specialist teaching areas in recent years as the school population has increased.

Why expand on our current site?

We wish to further progress our School by offering our current and future students improved facilities. Due to our reputation for outstanding quality there has been a gradual increase in pupil numbers over the last few years that has meant the School has significantly exceeded its capacity.

A spatial analysis undertaken against Building Bulletin 104 indicates that the School is currently under spaced by 30% and operating over capacity. The space limitations have meant that the School cannot meet the demand for places and the shortage of space is restricting the variety of teaching and learning that the Academy can implement.

The proposal is to construct a new build extension at the rear of the School site. The implementation of the project will mean that the School will have a total of eight fit for purpose teaching spaces, five general teaching and three specialist, three 1-to-1 rooms, one medical room, one hygiene room, storage and additional student WC facilities. This extra accommodation will go a long way in alleviating pressure on current teaching spaces and enable the staff to better plan their lessons without the constraint of teaching spaces not being available prior to start of the lesson.

The proposed expansion would enable the School to increase the breadth of curriculum which means that students would not have to go to other schools and use offsite provision for certain subject specialisms. The School would also be able to improve the range of external accreditation offered which will lead to more employment opportunities.  The new small group rooms would enable 1:1 student support along with smaller group teaching and much needed space for instances which require calming of individual pupils

The additional spaces will ensure that children with complex medical needs can easily access screened areas for physical adjustments, enteral feeding or medication. The re-establishment of specialist teaching areas will ensure that all students can access specialist learning environments such and arts and technologies, Food Technology and Independent Living Skills, and accessible Library and interactive ICT resources.  This will establish access to the pupils’ entitlement to a quality curriculum in an appropriately resourced and safe environment.

The project will mainly elevate space pressures for existing pupils but also enable to grow the school population from 93 to 107 pupils by 2022/23. This will mean we can offer additional places to pupils who are in need of this specialist provision.

We have the in principle support of the Staffordshire County Council’s planning department for this change and we have also secured funding from the DfE to undertake the project. We will however need to secure planning permission for the project which will require further consultation.

How will the decision be reached?

If it is agreed to proceed with the proposal, a business case and a financial plan will be submitted to the Education and Skills Funding Authority (ESFA) and the Regional Schools Commissioner to request approval to expand. This will include a summary of the public consultation and the views and comments received. The ESFA will assess the business case and the financial plan and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State will then either approve or reject the proposal.

Academy Councilors will consider the views of a wide range of stakeholders. There will be an informal drop in session which will be announced soon when there will be an opportunity to see the outline proposal and discuss the project.

If a business case and a financial plan are submitted to the ESFA at the beginning of July, it is hoped that a final decision will be made by the Secretary of State by end of July 2017.

How can you respond to this consultation?

The consultation will be between Friday 2 June 2017 to Friday 30 June 2017.

You can respond in any of three ways:

  • complete the response form at the back of this document and post or email it to the address shown
  • write a letter and send this to the address below
  • email your response to: Saxonenquiries@shaw-education.org.uk

 

Click here to download our consultation form.

Please return your form by 5.00pm on Friday 30 June 2017 to:

Director of Operations
The Lodge, Wolstanton High School
Milehouse Lane
Newcastle Under Lyme
Staffs
ST5 9JU

Please note: We will note all your comments, but will not be able to respond individually to response forms, letters or emails.

 

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