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Gloucestershire Business News

Proposals to expand special school

Gloucestershire County Council is asking for views on plans to make changes to Heart of the Forest Community Special School, so that children with social, emotional and mental health needs can be supported locally.

A consultation on the proposed changes to the Coleford school has just begun and will last for four weeks.

If approved, the number of places available to children aged 4-11 at the school will increase by 10 to 125, with these places being available for children with SEMH from September 2022.

There is an increasing demand in Gloucestershire for special school places, which means children sometimes have to go to schools out of the county or to independent schools when there aren't places available locally.

The county council, with the support of Heart of the Forest's head teacher and governors, want to expand this provision to make sure more children have the opportunity to go to school close to where they live and that places are available where there is the most demand.

Chris Spencer, director of children's services at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "We know there is strong support for increasing the social, emotional and mental health needs provision in the county, but we want to give everyone the opportunity to tell us what they think before any decision is made at Heart of the Forest School. We're committed to making sure all children get the education they deserve, which is why the council is investing over £100 million into our county's schools."

The council will be consulting with a number of stakeholders, including parents and carers of pupils at Heart of the Forest School, local residents, local parish councils and heads at other special schools.

The cabinet member for education, economy and skills will make the final decision.

If the proposals are approved, the county council will work with the school to determine what is needed to provide the required additional accommodation for pupils.

For more information and to have your say, visit Increase Heart of the Forest (HOTF) Community Special School.  

Or drop in at the school tomorrow (20th May) between 4pm and 6pm.

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