Consultation: on a proposal for a new special Academy in Nuneaton/Bedworth for children and young people with additional needs including autistic spectrum conditions and social, emotional and mental health difficulties

People wishing to participate in the consultation can complete the online questionnaire here

The Academies Act 2010 & Public Consultation

An important step in opening the school is the signing of a Funding Agreement. This is the contract between the school’s Trust and the Secretary of State for Education – it outlines how the school must operate in certain areas, the obligations placed upon it by the Government, and key Guidelines and Codes it must adhere to, amongst other things.

Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010 requires the Trustees to carry out a consultation before the Funding Agreement can be completed:

“Section 10 Consultation: additional schools.

(1) Before entering into Academy arrangements with the Secretary of State in relation to an additional school, a person must consult such persons as the person thinks appropriate.

(2) The consultation must be on the question of whether the arrangements should be entered into.”

This document outlines key questions that the Trust thinks people should consider, the process by which people can respond, and what will happen to responses.

Actions arising from the consultation

All responses received will be read and considered by the Trust directors, and will be documented in the summary of the consultation. This will be submitted to the Secretary of State in order to allow her to consider it as she draws up the Funding Agreement for the school. A summary of the findings will be published at a later date on the MacIntyre Academies Trust official website at http://www.macintyreacademies.org

The Trust will notify interested parties of the publication via Warwickshire County Council’s website, school’s website, email list and social networks.

What is being proposed?

A new and exciting 80 place day special school for children and young people with additional needs aged between 9 to 19 (Years 5 to 13) and who are in need of specialist education and support is to open in September 2015.

The school will ultimately cater for children from years 5 to 13 but will open with children in years 5, 6, 7 and 8 in year 1. This includes children in the last two primary years (from age 9 years). The school, which will cater for boys and girls is expected to reach full capacity in year 2 or 3. Approximately 20 places would be reserved for children within the sixth form.

MacIntyre Academies is a Special Academy Trust that already operates a special academy in Oxford and is delighted to have been chosen to set up this new School. MacIntyre Academies is sponsored by MacIntyre, a national charity founded in 1966 by the parents of a disabled child. With over 40 years of experience in providing specialist provision for over 1,000 children and adults with learning difficulties and autism across the UK, MacIntyre has developed a strong reputation nationally, as a high quality, person centred  organisation.

The need for this school has been identified by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) as there is insufficient good quality specialist provision for children with additional educational needs associated with an autistic spectrum condition or social, emotional and mental health difficulties within the County.

There are a significant number of children and young people placed outside of the County (risen from 3.9% in 2009 to 8.5% in 2013 – Warwickshire County Council). Many parents and carers have told WCC that they would prefer their child to be in a school as close to home as possible.   We also understand that there is a gap in specialist provision in Warwickshire at a time when diagnosis of autism is increasing.

It is proposed that the new school be built on the former Manor Park School site Nuneaton which closed in 2010.

The Academy will welcome children and young people from Warwickshire as a priority, who have a statement of special educational needs that details the provision required to help the child to overcome the barriers to learning caused by their additional educational needs associated with an autistic spectrum condition or social, emotional  and mental health difficulties. Referrals will be through the local authorities who have named the school in individual children’s statements.

What is an Academy?

In essence, academies are publicly funded state schools but are independently managed with oversight from local people and families. Each operates in accordance with a funding agreement which is agreed directly between the school and the national Education Funding Agency, which operates on behalf of the Department for Education. The school and its Trust then work in close partnership with the local authority to ensure that the provision meets the need of the children and young people and their families, and provide best outcomes.   Academies are established in a way that is intended to be “creative” and “innovative” in order to give them the freedom considered necessary to deal with the long-term issues they are intended to solve.  MacIntyre Academies will build on its provision in Oxfordshire and the success of its sponsor’s longstanding educational expertise.

Funding ArrangementsIn principle, academies receive the same level of per-pupil funding as they would receive from the local authority as maintained schools, plus additions to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the local authority. However, academies have greater freedom over how they use their budgets to best benefit their students.

In many respects the requirements which apply to maintained schools also apply to academies. For example:

  • The principles of governance are the same in academies as in maintained schools, although the governing body has greater autonomy. Academies are required to have at least two parent governors.
  • Academies are required to follow the law and guidance on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as if they were maintained schools.
  • Academies have to ensure that the school will be at the heart of its community, collaborating and sharing facilities and expertise with other schools and the wider community.

Our Vision and Ethos for the new School

We believe all young people, regardless of learning difficulty, deserve the best education possible.  We want our students to be ambitious for themselves and we need to be ambitious on their behalf. Therefore our aim is to deliver an ‘outstanding’ school with outstanding outcomes. A school which is truly family centred with education individualised to each child/young person. The new Academy will provide a healthy, safe and enjoyable environment, with excellent teaching and learning and a focus on high quality personalised education and support.  It will evolve according to local needs, and parents/carers will be encouraged to be fully involved and connected from the outset.

This project will be run in close partnership with Warwickshire County Council. By understanding and responding to the current and future requirements of local young people, the academy will be a centre of excellence within the County, with a national reputation.

The School will ensure that children are safe, healthy, contribute positively to their whole community, and are set up to achieve economic and academic well-being in adult life. Importantly, all students must enjoy attending school.

Aims & objectives

The main aims of the school will be to:

  •  Improve outcomes and life chances for children and young people
  • raise aspirations from both students and staff;
  • ensure better transitions, destinations and opportunities after school
  • Accelerate progress in literacy, numeracy as well as a broad and balanced curriculum
  • Operate a school which is environmentally sustainable and financially secure;
  • strengthen community cohesion by being a keystone within the local community

This will be achieved by:

  •  recognising that high-quality teachers and staff are the school’s principle asset, who will be supported, rewarded and motivated;
  • offering a personalised learning programme which offers both academic and vocational learning pathways;
  • embracing the role of parents as part of the school’s life-blood and culture
  • working alongside Warwickshire County Council, staff and stakeholders to ensure that the Academy is successful in delivering their strategic aims

The School will provide a curriculum designed to follow a personalised learning approach, providing flexibility to meet the needs of all students. The School aims to know every child and young person as an individual, where their interests lie and what motivates them. This is key to their success and happiness, and to the success of the school.

The personalised learning programmes employed at the new school will be tailored to the abilities of each child or young person. We recognise that some students will require additional support for some or all of their learning.

On starting at the School, all students will be assessed in their literacy and numeracy skills. In addition, the personalised learning methodology employed at the School will enable individual subject-based assessments to identify particular strengths and areas of difficulty. This will inform target setting, monitoring and assessment of progress. Parents, carers and other parties involved in supporting the student’s educational progress will be invited to provide evidence or comment. Every effort will be made to include parents and carers in meetings.

We have a holistic approach to supporting behaviour that empowers the child or young person to engage in education. We believe that a student that is motivated, encouraged and made to feel worthwhile will choose to learn, and as a consequence behave well. The school will support students to become socially responsible, polite and caring young adults, who value the lives of others and the environment in which they live. All staff, not just teachers, will be trained to support children to develop positive behaviours and develop strategies to manage their own behaviour positively. . Good behaviour and attendance are a direct outcome of positive attitudes to learning.

All staff will be trained to promote good behaviour and seek to reward positive achievements. Positive contributions to the school community, will be widely featured in assemblies, on notice boards, in newsletters and on the school website.

As a community-focused school we will endeavour not to exclude students. Every student should have a strong sense of belonging. Our staff will provide very clear guidance for our students and their families. Interventions for behaviour causing concerns will be actioned promptly and consistently.

The consultation period will run from Monday 27 October 2014 to Friday 14 November 2014.

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