School in line for changes after review

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CHANGES could be made to a Morpeth school as part of a countywide review.

Consultation is under way to alter the age ranges and designation of Northumberland’s special schools and units, including Collingwood School and Media Arts College in Stobhill.

Currently the Morpeth school caters for pupils aged four to 19 with moderate learning disabilities, but under the new arrangements it would serve young people aged from two to 19, with specialist provision for pupils with autism spectrum disorder, speech, language and communication needs, and behaviour, emotional and social difficulties.

The changes have been proposed by Northumberland County Council following a review of provision in October last year, which found there was a need to develop more locally available specialist services.

The council now spends around £5m a year on out-of-county provision and young people with the most complex needs often have to travel some distance to services.

The authority aims to ensure a more even geographical spread of specialist provision, as well as develop capacity and funding for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.

Council Executive Member for Children and Young People Lesley Rickerby said: “This is the beginning of a detailed consultation to decide the best arrangements for Northumberland special schools and special units.

“We hope that parents, teachers and governors will attend the meetings that are planned as we work through the best ways to move forward.”

A total of eight schools and two special units are included in the proposals.

A meeting to discuss the Collingwood plans will be held at the school on Wednesday, October 17, at 7pm.

Consultation is scheduled to run for 12 weeks until Tuesday, December 18.

For further information contact the council’s planning and organisation team at children’s services on 0845 600 6400. A questionnaire can be requested and returned by FREEPOST.