Peterborough special school to admit more students after age range change

A special school in Peterborough is to admit more students after changing their age criteria.

By Ben Jones
Friday, 18th March 2022, 4:55 am

At present, Marshfields School, on Eastern Close, Dogsthorpe, provides 175-place special provision for students with a range of moderate learning difficulties and is open to pupils aged between nine and 19.

Following a recent four-week consultation period, this will now be extended to students down to seven years of age.

The council has said that is has made the decision based on the fact that the number of children with an education, health and care (EHC) care plan has risen steadily over the last seven years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Marshfields School.

It is hoped that lowering the age range will help the school to provide a more appropriate match between the places available at special schools in the area and the demand.

The school, which has a Good OFSTED rating, will now be able to provide those whose needs are identified at a young age the chance to attend appropriate special provision earlier.

The consultation document on Peterborough City Council’s website states: “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.”

The council added: “The recent review of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision across Peterborough identified that there was a mis-match between the overall SEND pupil profile in Peterborough and the range of provision available across mainstream schools, specialist hubs and special schools.

“The SEND census data from the previous five years shows that the number of children with an EHC Plan in Peterborough has risen steadily. A high number of these children will be able to successfully access education provision in mainstream schools, however, those with more severe needs will require a special school place.”

The number of pupils with an EHCP in Peterborough has risen from 1,174 in 2015/16 to 1,287 to 2019/20.

The decision remains subject to council call-in but is set to come into effect from Thursday (March 17).