Proposals to improve provision for learners with additional needs revealed

Eight key proposals to improve educational provision for learners with additional needs have been revealed in a report to be discussed at a meeting of Cardiff Council's Cabinet. 


The proposals, which are subject to consultation, are aimed at improving outcomes for learners with additional needs, whilst also meeting the increasing demand for places in special schools and specialist resource bases across Cardiff.

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: "Over the last five years we've funded an additional 103 special school and specialist resource base places in Cardiff, but evidence suggests the number of learners with additional needs will continue to increase. 

"Our mainstream schools provide a good education for over 90 percent of children and young people with additional learning needs. The proposals we are now putting forward are designed to ensure that we have a clear and coherent strategy in place to meet specialist needs outside of the mainstream. To do that we need to ensure we have sufficient, high quality provision in place." 

Covering the period until 2022, when the  recently announced 21stCentury Schools Band B Programme investment in four new special schools  (two primary and two secondary), will come to fruition, the proposals include: 

  • Increase the capacity of  Ty Gwyn Special School  (from 150 places to 198 places) by establishing 3 extra classrooms in the old Trelai Youth Centre building at the rear of the school. Development of the Youth Centre will also provide additional sports facilities, increased community access and opportunities to develop multi-agency collaboration services and outreach on the site.

  • Extend the age range of  The Hollies School  (from 4 - 11 to 4 - 14) and the number of places (from 90 to 138). Additional classroom space would be provided by refurbishing the accommodation to be vacated by Ysgol Glan Morfa in Splott when it transfers to new build premises in August 2018.  Provision at the extended Hollies School would then be split across the new site and the existing buildings in Pentwyn.

  • Extend the age range of  Greenhill School (from 11 - 16 to 11 - 19) and increase the capacity of the school to 64 places. The increased age range would pave the way for the post-16 provision which will be included in the new build school as part of the Band B programme.

  • Widen the focus of the currently undersubscribed  Meadowbank School  from learners with ‘specific language impairments' to include learners with ‘speech language and communication needsandcomplex learning disabilities'.

  • Phase out the existing specialist resource base (SRB) at  Allensbank School  by July 2020 and open an 8 place early intervention class in September 2019 for children with speech and language needs.

  • Open a specialist resource base (SRB) for up to 20 children with complex learning disabilities at  St Mary the Virgin CIW Primary School. The provision would be included as part of plans to rebuild the school under the 21stCentury Schools Band B programme of investment and would mean pupils living in south central Cardiff could access specialist provision, closer to home.

  • Open a specialist resource base at  Ysgol Pwll Coch  to provide 10 Welsh medium primary places for pupils with complex learning disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions. This provision would have scope to extend to 20 places as demand grows.

  • Extend the specialist resource base at  Ysgol Glantaf  to provide 30 Welsh medium secondary places for pupils with complex learning disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions.

The capital cost of the proposals is expected to be in the region of £6 million. 

Cllr Merry continued: "Failure to invest in our own provision will eventually lead to a reliance on independent special school providers, meaning increased costs and no guarantee that of sufficient places, so these proposals would represent money well spent. Especially when you consider the substantial benefits they will bring - high quality English and Welsh medium education for learners with additional needs, a sustainable future for Meadowbank School, improved post-16 opportunities for young people with severe emotional and wellbeing needs and an increased capacity to intervene early to support children with speech and language needs."