Consultation Report

The Woodlands Academy
Proposal to increase the planned number of places from 77 to 142 in the age range 2-16 years

Consultation Report
16 April – 24 May 2018

May 2018
The Woodlands Academy consultation report

-Contents:
1. Introduction to the consultation ……………………………………………………………. 3
2. Aims of the consultation ………………………………………………………………………. 3
3. Consultation materials …………………………………………………………………………. 3
4. Consultation feedback responses ………………………………………………………… 4
5. Consultation meetings …………………………………………………………………………. 8
6. Conclusion and recommendations ……………………………………………………… 11
The Woodlands Academy consultation repo

1. Introduction to the consultation:
This report outlines the reason for the consultations undertaken and summarises key findings. Information is presented under the following headings:

  • The Aims of the Consultation
  • Consultation Materials
  • Consultation Audience, Events and Timeline
  • Key Outcomes
  • Conclusions and Recommendations

Key stakeholders have been consulted on the proposal for The Woodlands Academy to increase pupil numbers from 77 to 142. The consultation period commenced on 16th April 2018 and concluded on 24th May 2018.
The findings included in this report are based on comments and suggestions made and questions raised during a series of consultation events and response forms from letters.

2. Aims of the consultation:
The consultation exercise had a number of strategic aims:

  • To inform stakeholders of the scope of the proposal and provide information on both short and long-term implications, risks and opportunities
  • To ensure that a wide range of stakeholders were able to contribute their views and ideas and ask questions
  • To collate and analyse the views put forward

3. Consultation materials:

PowerPoint presentations:
A PowerPoint presentation was developed by the Acting Headteacher to give all stakeholders consistent and relevant information as a starting point to inform the discussions.
Key areas covered in the presentations were:

  • The rationale for the increase in pupil numbers
  • Staffing implications
  • Financial considerations
  • Implications for existing pupils
  • Capacity within the building
  • What happens next
  • Questions & Answers

Parents/Carers, Community and Local Authority Letter:

To support the consultation, a letter was developed and sent out with all pupils and
The Woodlands Academy consultation report sent to local schools, the Local Authority, local MP and staff unions.
The aim of the letter was to allow the opportunity for all to give their thoughts about the proposal to increase pupil numbers and to raise any concerns they had.
All were given the opportunity of sending in feedback either by phone, email, online or in writing.

4. Consultation Feedback responses:
In total 14 responses were received by the close of the consultation process at 12:00pm on the 24th May 2018.

Feedback Responses Total
Parent/Carer 5
Local Schools 4
Staff 3
Local Authority 1
Other 1

A breakdown of the status of the respondents was:


36% Parent/Carer
29% Local Schools
21% Staff
7% Local Authority
7% Other

From the feedback responses received the following information on how the proposal was received could be seen as either positive or negative or no indication. Percentage results indicated a positive response of 86% (see chart below).

Overview of Consultation Number of Responses
Positive 12
Negative 1
No Indication 1

Positive responses

Some of the positive comments and observations are listed below –

  • “I believe that expanding the numbers is a fantastic idea, as there are so many children out there who could benefit from such an amazingly good school as this one” – parent
  • “As a Headteacher of a local Primary School that is increasingly being expected to meet the needs of pupils who would benefit more fully from a special provision within Scarborough, I fully support the Academy working in partnership with NYCC to increase capacity”. – Local Headteacher
  • I fully support the application for additional places at Woodlands Academy but would like local children to have priority over out of area placement” – Local Headteacher
  • “I fully support this consultation and the increase in numbers” – parent
  • “Yes I support the proposal, I think it will be beneficial to the school” – Staff member
  • “I feel the proposal is a positive move for the school” – Staff Member
  • “I would support this change and think the school will manage it well” – Parent
  • “Broadly speaking the NASUWT on behalf of their members are in favour of the proposal (as there is certainly a need locally for more places) – NASUWT
  • “The area has a need for additional specialist provision places and the proposal should go some way towards meeting this need” – Local Headteacher
  • “As Head Teacher of a large primary school in the town, we have a growing proportion of pupils who need the alternate provision that Woodlands offers so well. We have found that decisions on transfer of our most vulnerable pupils has not been down to lack of willingness but lack of realistic capacity.” – Local Headteacher
  • “I can only see this as a positive direction in ensuring that more pupils across Scarborough can access the provision to which they are most suited.” – Local Headteacher
  • “We can also see the potential of developing outreach type relations where full-time specialist provision may not be appropriate at a pupils particular stage, but access to provision for part of the week, or staff coming to school for inclusive support, could be developed in time.” – Local Headteacher

Local Authority Response

“NYCC has carried out extensive analysis of data trends and developed forecasts of future demand for special school places across the county. It is acknowledged that demand for places is increasing and is expected to do so into the future. With this in mind it is important that schools and academies are able to respond flexibly and gradually to meet demand.

Currently the Local Authority is consulting on a strategic plan for SEND provision in North Yorkshire and this includes proposals on the LA’s intention to establish a wide range of local provision to meet needs. It is envisaged that implementing a new model of targeted provision within mainstream schools will mitigate some, but not all, of the increased demand for special school places going forward and support more young people to remain in local mainstream settings where appropriate.

In principal, and as the LA responsible for commissioning places, NYCC does not object to the proposals to increase the capacity of Woodlands Academy as outlined in the consultation document. Increasing capacity would allow flexibility for both the Academy and the LA with regards to the annual commission of places. It must however be stated that although the LA has no objection to the increase in capacity this does not constitute any agreement from the LA to commission the number of places stated within the consultation. Commissioning of places will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis in line with forecasts and expected demand”

No Indication responses

There was 1 response which asked questions and at time of receipt was neither positive or negation (Parent) whose comments and observations were as follows –

Reason for Expansion

How is the Academy hoping to develop its offer around Social Emotional Mental Health with NYCC? Does the Academy already admit pupils with these needs to the school? is the specialism to work with these pupils already in the school or will it be developed and how will that impact on those pupils who have been admitted for “moderate or severe learning difficulties, speech and language difficulties, autism and some medical difficulties”?

Admission and Curriculum:

Will the teacher and TA ratios remain the same?
We think currently classes are around 10 and these are generally split into two groups of 5 in two separate rooms.
Will the curriculum remain geared towards learners who have moderate or severe learning
difficulties – with the benefits of a more practical curriculum like cooking, gardening, woodwork etc?

Leadership and management:

What changes to staff terms and conditions might there be?

Physical Characteristics:

“A number of rooms unused” – but are there twice as many rooms unused as used currently, as this would need to be the case to keep ratios the same as now.
How will the sports hall and dining hall be used for both games and dinner if student numbers double?

We think there are currently two sittings for dinner, but if the school reaches its new capacity, there will need to be 4 sittings, which would take up a lot of the day. For example, if there were 4 half hour sittings, this would mean dinner running from 12.00-2.00 or 11.30-1.30, which is a large chunk of the day and would mean some students are getting hungry at either end of the lunch period and that there can be no sports during that time, with probably a little more time lost in setting up and clearing away.
Outside space may be enough to accommodate a larger school population, but with increased numbers what happens on rainy days? Also, we don’t know what it is like during break times, how noisy it gets etc, but these are things to consider as doubling numbers would have a significant impact in terms of bodies moving around the playground, noise levels etc.

How these issues raised will be (or have been) managed

These questions were raised within the other meetings and answers provided, unfortunately parents were unable to attend on the meeting dates, but information will be provided to them.

Negative responses

There was 1 negative response (Parent) whose comments and observations were as follows –
If Woodlands were to run to capacity of 142 students possible increase of 60+ your class numbers will increase? I’m sure you don’t have the 10 empty classrooms to keep the class numbers as they currently stand? 6-7 per class?
I accept the need for places, but in Woodlands case, I do not feel its current setting could accommodate such an increase and by this I feel class numbers will increase and cause detriment to most pupils. I am against this increase.

How these issues raised will be (or have been) managed
Increase of 60+ students / Class numbers / available space for teaching –

It is anticipated that the increase in pupil numbers would be gradual due to the commissioning of places through the local authorities which feed Woodlands Academy.
Woodlands has available space on the top floor of the building which was vacated when the Local Authority withdrew funding for residential provision in 2015. This accommodation is suitable as teaching space and is currently unused. This available space would be utilized and it would be necessary to look at class sizes to ensure that there is the right amount of space and staffing. It was also necessary to take impact into consideration.

5. Consultation Meetings:

There were a number of consultation meetings which took place over the consultation period attendance numbers and questions raised and their answers are below.

Tool Target Audience Dates
Letter to Parents and carers, local schools and local authorities. Parents/Carers, Headteachers, Local Authroity 16th April 2018
Parent/Carers Meeting Parents/Carers

24th April 2018 5:30pm                                                                                                           27th April 2018 1.00pm

Community Meetings Community, Headteachers, Local Authority 1st May 2018 5:00pm
Staff Meeting School Staff 1st May 2018 3:15pm
Govenors Review Feedback Govenors 24th May 2018 5:00pm

In the main, all attending could see the benefits of increasing pupil numbers and how it would benefit the school in the longer term. Some key points discussed are listed below –

Parent & Community Consultation Meetings

 

Question Answer
How would the dining arrangements work? Acting Headteacher confirmed that lunch would be staggered. Some children did currently eat in classrooms due to their sensory needs.
The increase would not affect the curriculum offer or ethos of the provision.
What about activities, would this mean more fundraising? Acting Headteacher confirmed the Academy was developing fundraising and any contributions would be welcome.
Business Manager explained that the increase in numbers would result in additional funding which would enable the school to do more.
Will class sizes and classrooms stay as they are currently? Acting Headteacher confirmed that it would be necessary to look at class sizes to ensure that there is the right amount of space and staffing. It was also necessary to take impact into consideration.
Business Manager explained the commissioning process and that numbers were unlikely to increase significantly in the short term.
What about pickups at the end of the school day? It was confirmed that the number of parents picking up was increasing; however, a risk assessment had been completed and this was well managed.
Acting Headteacher confirmed that transport arrangements were constantly under review.
Increasing from 77 to 142 would mean that it would not necessary to reapply again to increase? Business Manager confirmed that this was the case. 142 was the capacity of the school without any physical changes to the building being required.
Acting Headteacher confirmed that the curriculum offer wouldn’t change.
Could the school meet the needs of students with physical disabilities? Acting Headteacher confirmed that we do have students with physical disabilities, but none that require modification to their environment; however, should there be a request, the school would look at the most appropriate space.
There would be a training need for staff? Acting Headteacher confirmed, and it would be necessary to look at recruitment
Would transport be an issue? Governors responded that they were aware that this was an issue with current changes to transport arrangements and this had
been raised by parents as part of the consultation process. It was their experience that transport on site was well managed.
Acting Headteacher confirmed that the playground at the back of the school was used for transport. Arrangements would need to be monitored.
Did the school have many East Riding Children and were numbers statistic. Acting Headteacher confirmed that there were currently 19 East Riding children on role.
Business Manager confirmed that numbers were pretty static.

Staff Consultation Meeting –

Question Responce
Are the numbers down to funding? Acting Headteacher explained that admissions were looked at individually and that numbers were determined through a commissioning process. There was the ability to decline placements.
The consultation documentation mentioned more SEMH learners, is this something the Academy is looking at? Acting Headteacher explained that there were SEMH students already at the school and the Academy was successful in meeting their needs. With any placement It was necessary to consider whether the school was the right place for the child to succeed and the impact on other learners.
Was the age range changing? Acting Headteacher confirmed that it was not.
It sounded like there would be lots to organise? Acting Headteacher explained that it was felt that the numbers would increase gradually. The number of places was being increased to 142 in order that it would not be necessary to further change the funding agreement.
Business Manager explained that Local Authorities commissioned places annually and for the 2018/19 academic year 85 places had been commissioned. For each commissioned place the Academy would receive £10K plus a Top-Up amount for each child, the level of which was set in accordance with need. Once the number of commissioned places was set then the school would look to organise the school for the numbers commissioned. It may be that additional places could be requested and it would be a question of looking to see if need could be met and without detriment to others.
The Academy had to maintain the building and services from within existing funding so increasing numbers and funding would be beneficial to the school.
Were
parents happy?
Governors confirmed that parents concerns had been about the impact on class sizes and the level of pupil support. They had been reassured that there would be no change in this regard. Parents therefore appeared happy.
Parents had raised interest in post 16 and early years provision through the consultation returns.
There had also been questions on parking which may be an issue but this would be managed.
Would the school take children from the same area? Acting Headteacher confirmed this; although there had been a recent inquiry from Redcar & Cleveland LA.
The school would be focusing on PR and promoting the school particularly with E Riding.

All present at consultation events were comfortable about responses given.
Overall, feedback was constructive and positive with some parents seeing more benefits than barriers to the proposed change to pupil numbers.

 

Parent/Career Perspective  
There was lots of outside space for additional children. Acting Headteacher agreed. She had visited other schools and the Academy was in a very fortunate position.
There is a lot of need for special school placements in mainstream settings, particularly in secondary. Acting Headteacher confirmed that placements could be accepted at all levels.
  Governors wished to assure all parents that there wouldn’t be any change, the welfare of each individual child was of upmost importance with a personalised curriculum provided and this would continue.

6. Conclusion and recommendations:
In conclusion, the consultation has raised a few key areas to be considered by Governors if the business case is granted to increase capacity within the Academy.

  • Ensure all stakeholders are kept up-to-date on a regular basis so that they are kept fully informed.
  • Keep communication regular, using letters and the school website as a constant means of communication.
  • Consider benefits of suggestions raised in relation to improving extracurricular activities, parking, early years and post 16, along with outreach support to local schools.