Changes to education and care for children with special needs

Wood Bank School.'Staff, from the left, headteacher Richard Pawson, Diane Heginbottom. Jackie Knowles, Andrew Carnochan, Tim Skelton and Alison Shepherd.'Students, from the left, Fatima Bibi, eight, Daisy Roberts, eight, Cameron Barnott, seven, Charlie Curtis, five, Hayder Ali, seven, Phoebe, Hoyle, six, Taibah Islam, six, and Dominic Balog, four.

Wood Bank School.'Staff, from the left, headteacher Richard Pawson, Diane Heginbottom. Jackie Knowles, Andrew Carnochan, Tim Skelton and Alison Shepherd.'Students, from the left, Fatima Bibi, eight, Daisy Roberts, eight, Cameron Barnott, seven, Charlie Curtis, five, Hayder Ali, seven, Phoebe, Hoyle, six, Taibah Islam, six, and Dominic Balog, four.

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Wood Bank Special School in Luddenden Foot is preparing for the introduction of the Education, Health and Care plan, anticipating that it will be a success.

The school is even planning to take on a new member of staff who will focus entirely on the changeover, enabling things to run as smoothly as possible during the transition.

Speaking about the movement, headteacher Richard Pawson, 33, said: “The biggest thing that will affect us is that it’s going to replace the statement (of special educational needs) so the challenge for us as a school will be transferring all of our children on to this new system - the EHC plan.

“It will be a challenge definitely but we’re really excited.

“We’ve felt for a while we need a family liaison officer to work within the school and offer support for our families. I think it gives us a real focus and motivation for setting up.”

Mr Pawson believes that his primary school pupils - all of whom currently receive a full statement, meaning they receive the maximum amount of care in the classroom - will be focused on even more as a result of the EHC plan.

He said: “I think it’s exciting, it provides us with much more focus and an opportunity to share information with parents and support parents in what services are out there.”

Following the introduction of the EHC plan, the school intends to change its bungalow training centre into more of an information centre - an area designated to education, health and social care.

Mr Pawson said: “When our parents come to the school they can come up to the centre and take away information that can support them with their child.”

At the moment the school is highly staffed with around one teacher and five teaching assistants to support each class, and the new plans won’t change that, said Mr Pawson.

“It doesn’t alter anything in terms of the staffing in our school,” he said.

The headteacher added that the school has been actively involved in the pathfinder scheme, run by Calderdale Council, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group and Calderdale Parents and Carers.

Mr Pawson said: “We’ve had a number of families trialling it as part of the project,” adding that the school’s deputy head had also been involved along with himself.

The school has also been involved in holding sessions for parents to help best explain the changes.

Mr Pawson said: “Parents come along for a coffee morning.

“It gives us the opportunity to promote services and the support that’s out there.”