Peterborough special school entry criteria set to change

The entry criteria for children at a special school in Peterborough is set to change.
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Under plans which will shortly be approved by the city council, Marshfields School in Eastern Close, Dogsthorpe, will be re-designated from a school for pupils with ‘moderate learning difficulties’ to one for pupils with ‘learning difficulties’.

The council said that the over the past five years the cohort of students at Marshfields has “changed significantly” and that “the admissions guidance was not always applied consistently”.

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It added that “where there have previously been more able students in each cohort, starting points are now lower”.

Marshfields School in Eastern Close, DogsthorpeMarshfields School in Eastern Close, Dogsthorpe
Marshfields School in Eastern Close, Dogsthorpe

It hopes by agreeing the re-designation that it will “allow children to access the education right for them” and “ensure sufficient special school places across the city”.

The council explained: “Many children with moderate learning difficulties are able to access their education in mainstream provision.

“Making this change will ensure that Marshfields is only offering places to those who need a special school place to access their education successfully.”

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Marshfields is a community school with 175 places for pupils aged nine to 19, all of whom have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

The school was judged Good by Ofsted when inspected in October 2016.

The number of pupils with an EHCP in Peterborough has risen from 1,174 in 2015/16 to 1,287 to 2019/20 which has placed a pressure on the city’s education department.

EHCPs identify educational, health and social needs for children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) and set out the additional support they require.

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The council added: “The recent review of SEND provision across Peterborough identified that there was a mismatch between the overall SEND pupil profile in Peterborough and the range of provision available across mainstream schools, specialist hubs and special schools.”

There were 10 responses during a consultation on the proposed re-designation, eight of which were said to be in favour of the proposal and two against.

The fear of those who objected was that “young people who would have attended Marshfields would be forced to attend mainstream schools and would be unable to cope in these settings”.

The change in designation is set to come into effect from September.