More special schools to merge and relocate

11th September 2009 at 01:00
Glasgow is reviewing its ASL sector as it grapples with falling rolls because pupil needs are changing

The shake-up of Glasgow's schools continued this week, as councillors were set to merge five of the city's special schools for primary-aged children into three.

The proposals, which will go out to consultation if the council's executive committee gives the go-ahead today, will mean a merger of two schools for physically disabled children - Richmond Park and Kelbourne - and another of two for children with social and emotional behavioural difficulties, Greenview and Nerston.

Hampden School, where the accommodation is inadequate for its pupils with complex needs, would move into the premises of Richmond Park, when the latters' pupils moved to Kelbourne.

Greenview, designated last year as the first of the city's primary learning centres for pupils with social and emotional behavioural needs, and Nerston pupils would move into the vacated Hampden School.

Nerston, which is managed by Glasgow City Council despite being located in East Kilbride (a throwback to local government reorganisation in 1996), would be sold off.

Jonathan Findlay, executive member for education, said the reason behind the review was the same as mergers earlier this year in the primary and early years sectors. "These proposals are about responding to the changing needs of children with additional support needs in our city," he said. "By merging and relocating these schools, we will be better able to meet their needs and ensure vulnerable children will be educated in buildings which are suitable for the 21st century."

Glasgow's additional support for learning sector has seen falling rolls in some schools, particularly those for children with physical disabilities, because of improved medical treatment, more mainstreaming and fewer outside authorities buying into Glasgow's facilities because of budgetary constraints.

Mr Findlay said there would be no compulsory redundancies and early retirement packages will be on offer. The council estimates a net saving of pound;772,000, but expects to reinvest much, if not all, in up-grading facilities and resources.

Hugh Donnelly, Glasgow's local area secretary for the Educational Institute of Scotland, warned the proposals might provoke "significant parental concern", but said the EIS would support them as long as they led to reinvestment and better provision for the pupils.

The mergers are the latest plans in an overhaul of Glasgow's ASL sector. Other developments have included the first co-location of secondary pupils from a special and a mainstream school, when Newhills School for youngsters with moderate learning difficulties moved to the same campus as Lochend Community High; dyslexia services provided within schools; a curriculum review in six of the secondary ASL schools; and the merger of two special schools, Ashcraig and St Vincent's.

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